I would like to begin by making a point that may border on political. This is something I prefer to avoid, but it has become necessary to address this topic. While there are times in life that the very unfortunate need help, the vast majority of us are bound by a little concept called personal responsibility. With our culture changing, many people have chosen to abandon this notion. The reason I bring this up is because of an article I wrote last year during the frenzy of heat related race cancellations. (read here) Apparently Sean Ryan, the race director of the Green Bay Marathon, has put me on his radar and launched a couple inarticulate, personal attacks. I continue to stand by my article and merely pointed out his obvious condescension toward runners. He has opted to take the low road via name calling both in an email and also posting on my Adventures In Running Facebook page a short, sophomoric attack on a completely unrelated article. He chooses his words as poorly as he makes decisions in my opinion. This is the email (which I actually found somewhat amusing) EXACTLY as it was written:
Here’s a thought: Why don’t we have every self-absorbed distance runner whno maintains their own blog and brags or humble-brags about their achievements set aside ONE YEAR, yes just one year, to enter the race directing field? Then they could actually blog would an informed perspective on what it takes to put on a race and what’s involved in caring “not just for your own PR and personal survival” but the safe delivery to the finish line of thousands of participants.
How about that Dave, you self absorbed loser?
Responsible for More Meaningful Runner Finishes Each Year
Than Dave can hope to Accumulate in a Lifetime
Personal responsibility. Either you believe in it or you don’t. With the exception of the aforementioned extremely unfortunate in our society, I contend there are no gray areas here. It’s like having a strong character, either you think it’s important or you don’t. I have to ask you the reader, is this the temperament of a man you want in charge of anything in your life? It seems Mr. Ryan is a walking, talking teachable moment to illustrate my point. If you are the type of person who refuses to take responsibility for your own missteps, you likely think others are incapable of making responsible decisions on their own. Even if you disagree with my past article you must agree that Mr. Ryan is an obvious total failure in the public relations department. What’s more, he is completely inaccurate in his assessment of my character. I challenge Mr. Ryan to find instances where I brag about my accomplishments rather than lift others up. It would seem he is the self-absorbed party here, judging by his closing statement.
There are possible solutions to mid-race cancellations such as capping with fewer participants or changing the venue/date, but this is not what I am here to discuss today. We can forever debate those ideas and ultimately agree to disagree, but I ask you to consider this: If I were to build someone a house and alter the homeowners floor plan without consent because I thought they were making a bad move, that would be wrong. The customer would have paid for something that they did not receive. I would not then double down on my error and tell them that they should be a carpenter for a year so they can speak from a position of experience. If Sean Ryan’s philosophy held true, none of us would be allowed to comment on politics, war, bad behavior, etc. because we have not actively been in that person’s position. So, for the sake of making my point, I would ask Sean Ryan, “How many races did you participate in during 2012?” Nowhere near the amount I have, so according to his logic, he is not allowed to make judgments on what an experienced racer wants or needs when weather conditions turn unfavorable. Unfortunately for Mr. Ryan little things like common sense and personal responsibility still exist where most of us come from.