You’re not even curious?
A few years ago, Nancy was competing in a regatta at Princeton, NJ. As she paddled to the starting line, she introduced herself to the person in the adjoining lane and the two chatted a bit. Nancy asked if the other person knew many people in their race. The person replied that last year’s winner was in the previous heat, but other than that she hadn’t heard of anyone else.
At that time, Nancy had just won the bronze at Masters Nationals, had taken second the year before at the Head of the Charles, and had dozens of other medals in regattas around the country. In her age division, she was probably one of the top 5 women in the U.S.
And from what I can tell, this lack of curiosity, or more exactly — the lack of doing one’s homework — is how most people operate!
Now maybe this other lady was doing the whole “zen” sports thing, where she just showed up, rowed her own race, and then went home, happy she gave it her all.
Still, I don’t think most competitors are like that and in this day and age where even Scooby Doo has a wikipedia page, it’s easy to find information effortlessly on everyone who’s in your event. In regattas, heat sheets come out a few days prior to the event, and all you have to do is enter “Nancy Faigen” regatta, or “Nancy Faigen” rowing and you know exactly who your competition is.
I had the same experience with cycling recently. I posted some nice comments on a fellow racer’s Strava.com “blog” about one of his rides. We vaguely know each other and he commented back that I also had some nice times, especially for someone who never did any road races.
I replied back that yes, I didn’t have any road races…but I did have a lot of time trials (20+, all easily found at uscycling.org) and in fact we had competed against each other….just last August! (albeit in different age groups.)
Now I realize all this smacks of “look at me,” and yes, maybe I’m just anal on figuring out who’s doing what, but still: do people operate in such a small world they don’t even know who or what planet is in the very next orbit?