Tamara Rice Lave: Running fans should only cheer

Welcome! Forums Running Forum Tamara Rice Lave: Running fans should only cheer

This topic contains 16 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dane 8 years, 7 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #12139

    Andrew A.
    Member

    http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=20359

    I certainly agree with this concluding passage:

    [color=rgb(51, 51, 51)]Marc-Simon Sagal, managing partner of Winning Mind, LLC, a consulting group on performance, has this to say about the devotees of ressentiment. “For me, maybe the most important thing for an athlete is confidence, and the kind of confidence that we call true confidence or real confidence is that real belief in yourself. It's a willingness to really look at yourself, it's a kind of openness, a kind of faith. … If you have that, I don't think that you're going to be engaging in those kinds of behaviors like denigrating others. It doesn't fill you up. It's distracting; it's off message, and it's not contributing to your own personal growth or confidence in any way. To me, it's an absolute negative. To engage in those behaviors, is to lose valuable energy and time.”[/color]

    However, I do not feel that it means that one should necessarily adhere strictly to 'if you cannot say anything nice then do not say anything at all.'  Sometimes the uncomfortable truth needs to be expressed.  I can love the sport without loving everything about it or how everyone in it behaves — and the sport can only evolve and improve in speaking up about what one does not love, not in the complete absence of criticism.  In what other sport is honest, candid assessment and criticism of performance not appreciated?  Sure, there are always going to be know-it-all loudmouths who go out of their way to heckle and hassle athletes unfairly (incidentally, that is why I tend to avoid most popular sporting events, so as to not be subjected to the inevitable stupid, drunk sports fans), yet when has that not been part of the deal for anyone who chooses to make a living in the public eye?  If I could wish that away, I would — however, if you do choose to be an athlete that performs in the public eye then you better grow some thick skin because if you let yourself get hooked by hecklers (and I have it on good authority that at least a few top runners do let it bother them) then they win.  On the same token, if you are going to bother to criticize then at least formulate a valid basis for it and be constructive about it.  I may have not always followed that ideal, yet it is one that I aspire to now.  Ultimately, though, I would prefer keep my focus (as much as possible) on the things and individuals that I do appreciate in the sport.

    Thoughts?  Criticisms or bashing? 8)

  • #30596

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    True fans have to speak out for the good and against the bad in the sport. This is true of any sport or anything else with a following. When someone does something bad, given that it's the sport we love, we have an obligation to speak out for the best of the sport. It may create some short term pain for the sport but the long term benefit of holding the sport to a high standard is what matters most.

    I understand that what she's talking about isn't necessarily what I'm bringing up but I think it follows a similar logic. First, who says people are denigrating Culpepper, Kastor, or Cox? Maybe they are just saying that London should be giving its appearance money to a runner who is closer to her prime, maybe they are just telling the truth about the field Culpepper competed against in order to keep perspective on her performance, maybe they are just saying that there are others who deserve more attention than Cox. Are these bad things to say or are they just the truth? If we shouldn't speak the truth, well, why speak at all?

  • #30597

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Somewhat related: False Praise – A Slippery Slope  I will go with what coach Gambetta recommends over the journo's preference (which she has to subscribe to in order to maintain access and do her job).  I have seen this plenty over the years in online running forum settings, people eager to heap false praise on poor performance.  It clearly is part of the culture of lowering standards and elevating mediocrity.

  • #30598

    DoppleBock
    Member

    I would agree – Although its hard to know how well people do if you can not see their training and other races.

    Isn't constructive feed back like cheering?

  • #30599

    Wilson
    Member

    I read the article the other week and she has to be talking about Letsrun. LR is a den of negativity, but to tell the truth there are just a couple of dozen naysayers, but like negatvie advertising in political campaigns it gets your attention.

    Yes she has a point but bashing is part of the sport–and it happens with all kinds of sports (read any NFL or NCAA football blog comment list and you'll see hundreds of comments from armchair quarterbacks).

  • #30600

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I would agree – Although its hard to know how well people do if you can not see their training and other races.

    Well, when I have seen it the information regarding goals/expectations is usually included.

    Isn't constructive feed back like cheering?

    It is better than cheering.  😉  Putting polish on a turd to help with hurt feelings over failure may help the psyche a little in the short term, but that is more like giving a man a fish compared to teaching a man to fish by pointing out ways to correct errors to reduce the odds of failure in the future.  8)

  • #30601

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Yes she has a point but bashing is part of the sport–and it happens with all kinds of sports (read any NFL or NCAA football blog comment list and you'll see hundreds of comments from armchair quarterbacks).

    It happens with everything. It's most visible in sports but it happens in business, music, art, anything. Name the pursuit, you can find the naysayers. It seems to be human nature. I don't know why we should expect anything different in running.

    Sure, negativity just for negativity's sake is not productive. However, it's going to happen. Just accept it and ignore the idiots. Other seemingly negative comments can actually be constructive criticism or just honest analysis. What's wrong with either of those things?

  • #30602

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Yes she has a point but bashing is part of the sport–and it happens with all kinds of sports (read any NFL or NCAA football blog comment list and you'll see hundreds of comments from armchair quarterbacks).

    Right, as Ryan pointed out, it is going to happen for almost anyone who is in the public eye.  For anyone we put up on the celebrity pedestal, there will be those among us who want to knock them down.  Seems to simply be human nature and it seems naive of the author to believe that running should somehow be exempt from it.

  • #30603

    DoppleBock
    Member

    I do not go to LR often – I avoid the hate. 

    There is also a big difference between contructive feedback and attacking someone.  Sometimes it is just how the post is written, not the point that is being made.

    Finally – I tend to do on message boards where people are friendly and open to their true identity – Eventually I meet many in real life.  Wow very few people match their online personalities.

  • #30604

    ksrunner
    Participant

    I also avoid the LR forums — both because of the excessive negativity from some posters and because there is just too much volume. Occasionally, I will read one specific thread, but I don't have enough time to follow it all.

    The Hillrunner.com forms are the only message boards that I follow regularly.

  • #30605

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Indeed, it's not hard to avoid the negativity if you don't like it. LR has things going for it but lack of negativity is not one of them.

    Yes, there is a big difference between negativity and constructive criticism/honest discussion. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that we're going to get both. Those who put themselves in the public eye have to learn how to deal with both. Also, the author of the article seems to want neither negativity (a worthy idea but it's not going to happen) nor constructive criticism/honest discussion. While it is overboard to call for Deena to retire, is it unfair to question her high appearance fees when women who have recently run faster than she recently has likely could have been enticed by even less money than she got? Saying she's faster than you so you don't have any standing to question anything that has to do with her hardly seems productive.

  • #30606

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Looks like Dane Rauschenberg is beating the same fawning drum as Rice Lave.  Apparently Ryan Hall is above reproach.  In what other sport would  an athlete be given a free pass by fans for not showing up to compete when and where he said he would in the absence of legitimate injury?  The great athletes that we most look up to and admire are gamers, they show up and give their best even when they do not feel 100%.  Seems to me that Hall has been in 'play it safe' mode (i.e. takes no significant risks in competing) ever since Beijing, or perhaps ever since London 2008.  One with little experience or insight in the sport likely would not pick up on any of that, though.

    Ryan Hall recently made a decision. While he fortunately did not give it a capital “D”, take an hour of prime time television, and leave the city of Cleveland in shambles, his decision did disappoint some. Most of that disappointment stemmed from the fact that Hall, who decided he would not be running the Chicago Marathon next weekend, would not be showcasing some of the absolute best running talent America has ever grown against one of the fastest crowds ever assembled.Basically, they just wanted to see Ryan run. Some, however, held more ludicrous view points.
    Note: These are direct quotes from actual runners taken from various running forums.
    “I hope his loyal fans don’t take this as a tip to RUN LESS.…we have enough fat people.”
    “I’ve never been a fan, but I would like to see a white American win one of these big marathons.” (I cringe even quoting this one.)
    “I think there’s more to running than winning even if it is your job.”
    “This guy has a huge fan base. It may have shrunk today.”
    It would take a 3,000 word response from me to even scratch the surface of how ridiculous these comments are. The simple fact remains that when you run the speed Hall or any of those competitors do, there are only so many of those races in your legs. To get up to that speed, regardless of talent and genetics, takes undeniable amounts of effort and toll on one’s body.
    Run less? Since Hall was logging 130 mile weeks, I am sure running less would still be a tad more than the average runner, let alone American, out there.
    I am going to pretend that Hall read my article last week, Using Your Head, since his decision came out the same day as I posted that. I am of course being facetious. However, I cannot help but applaud this decision. A few weeks ago, Hall ran a half-marathon over five minutes slower than his personal best. In the subsequent weeks, he tried getting his mojo back and realized it wasn’t going to be there. Could he still go out and “jog” a 2:15 marathon? Probably. He has that much talent and hard work installed in his legs. But he wanted to win. He wanted to set a new American record. He wanted to give himself the best chance to succeed at the highest level. He realized that not only would none of those happen in Chicago this year, but by going and pushing himself, he may exacerbate an existing problem he wasn’t even sure existed. But he knew he was nowhere near where he needed to be.
    So he wisely, and probably with the heaviest of hearts, pulled out of the marathon. If doing the right thing, for both his career and his health, makes him lose fans, then they are the sort of people who he probably does not want following him in the first place. I can only hope that by taking this break it will accelerate his continual ascent to the top, and with it help continue the high expectations and lofty goals of others in United States distance running.

  • #30607

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Actually, for apparently different reasons, I'm singing a similar tune to Dane in this case. Hall knew something was wrong after the half. If he doesn't think he can overcome it, what will come of running a 2:15-2:20 marathon? What risk is he undertaking, possibly even an unknown risk? For his health and competitive future, this may be the right decision for him to make. It will allow him to figure out what's wrong and come back more quickly than had he torn his body apart running a marathon his body wasn't ready for.

  • #30608

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I like Hall, I think he seems like a genuine and decent person, yet my favorite athletes show up and compete whether they feel their best or not.  They are gamers who get after it. 

    I recall back in the winter/spring that Hall had a sub-par half-marathon in Arizona, canceled on his subsequent half-marathon in New Orleans, and still put in a solid (if perhaps restrained) performance at John Hancock B.A.A.  In Beijing, he seemed highly restrained (intimidated by the conditions/field?) and finished behind a cramping Ritzenhein.  In Houston and in his first two London marathons and at the OT in NYC, Hall just let it all hang out there — he 'swung the bat' and stuck his neck out in the race (rather than merely in the talk leading up to the race).  That is what great performers in other sports – and in distance running – have done.

  • #30609

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I understand the argument. I'm just not sure whether, if he knows it's really going to be an extremely bad day, I would agree that he should go out and beat his head against the wall for a 2:10 or 2:15. If he was a bit off but still ready for a 2:08 or better, I'd say gut it out and see what happens. If whatever is going on is worse than that, I'm not sure it would be wise to do so.

  • #30610

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Reminiscent of cyclists pulling out of races due to “bad sensations.”  Or the infamous top placers at USATF CC 2007, who declared before that race that served to select the teams for World Cross that they would not be going to World Cross if they earned spots on the team, complete with prepared laundry lists of excuses (that predictably turned out to be completely unfounded). 

    “Image and entertainment have displaced content and integrity in our sport…in most sports.
    Quitting races because of 'bad sensations,' to steal a phrase used in French, becomes cool and somehow in-the-know, rather than, well, kind of a wuss move.”

    The athletes I esteem simply do not do this sort of thing.

  • #30611

    Dane
    Member

    Actually, for apparently different reasons, I'm singing a similar tune to Dane in this case. Hall knew something was wrong after the half. If he doesn't think he can overcome it, what will come of running a 2:15-2:20 marathon? What risk is he undertaking, possibly even an unknown risk? For his health and competitive future, this may be the right decision for him to make. It will allow him to figure out what's wrong and come back more quickly than had he torn his body apart running a marathon his body wasn't ready for.

    Ryan,

    Perhaps my writing in the above quoted text was lacking in its true intentions but you definitely are saying the exact same thing as I was intending to. 

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.