What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&F


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What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&F

Postby jhc68 » Fri May 03, 2013 7:13 pm

Another cranky thread I started recently got me to thinking about how ignorant the general public is about T&F. And, conversely, how wonkish all of us are who post here :D !

First case in point: Last summer, the day after the London OG men's 800 final, I told a very intelligent, widely-read, highly-educated co-worker that it was the greatest race in history because not only was the winning time a WR and 2nd place a WJR but all 8 runners had set WRs for their placings. She had no clue what I was talking about.

It took a few minutes of explaining for her to understand there could be WRs for placings within a race. When she finally grasped the concept she was not so amazed by the race results but she was astonished that anyone would keep track of such data... Her verbatim quote: "And people actually spend time researching such things and making lists out of the data?!? Why?"

I had no reasonable reply because I couldn't understand how anyone on earth would NOT be interested in such data.
Other examples from your experience?
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Daisy » Fri May 03, 2013 7:36 pm

jhc68 wrote:Her verbatim quote: "And people actually spend time researching such things and making lists out of the data?!? Why?"

Would she say the same about baseball or football stats? They seems to be far more geeky with respect to the time and effort that goes into it.

I have to say that train spotting is a little OTT.

jhc68 wrote:Other examples from your experience?

People I know barely know the sport. And that in a town full of great track and field. So in general, I don't have any experience since the conversations fall flat.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby aaronk » Fri May 03, 2013 8:18 pm

Why waste your time?
If people really were interested, and knew you (generic "wonkish" you!!) knew everything there is to know about T&F, then they would ask you questions!
If they don't ask, they won't understand whatever "answers" you give them!!

I knew a woman......lived in Rome the first 27 years of her life......and she'd attended the Golden Gala meet once or twice.
Her reason?
She liked watching "people in motion"!!

No real interest in T&F....just seeing "people in motion"!!

So to complicate their little minds with "wonkish" stuff like records for place....is just a waste of your valuable time!!
(If you insist on talking T&F with your friend, stick to simple stuff....like who won, and whether they set a World Record!!)
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby mump boy » Sat May 04, 2013 1:01 am

It took me a long time to explain to a friend the other day that Paula was still the world record holder in the Marathon. Firstly she bought that meant she was faster than all the men ever and then she thought their was a new record set every year.

She didn't understand the whole concept at all :?
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Flumpy » Sat May 04, 2013 3:22 am

I spent the summer of 2004 running a nightclub in Ibiza. Obviously I'd arranged 3 weeks off to come home and watch the Olympics a fact that absolutely no one could understand at all.

Before I left an acquaintance asked me which British athletes were going to do well and I said that I didn't want to jinx anything but I had a really good feekling about Kelly Holmes and that she might very well get 2 medals. He's never heard of her. I couldn't believe that. She'd won World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European medals in recent years and whilst not David Beckham was one of the most high profile track stars in the UK. He had no clue.

3 weeks later, when I returned, things had changed :mrgreen:
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Master Po » Sat May 04, 2013 3:36 am

Or, conversely: some of my co-workers, acquaintances, friends who knew I was a distance runner, and serious about it (slow and no talent, but serious), had to have it explained to them on occasion that I was not even in the same universe as those people they would occasionally hear about in the Boston or NYC marathons, or the OG. Most people generally have no idea of the level of performance among elites in athletics.

The problems are a bit different with different parts of the sport. I have always felt that one problem (of the many) with televising long distance running is that it's near to impossible to transmit how fast those people are moving. Because they are moving efficiently and with apparent ease, how fast they are going just doesn't come across.(Thus, how slow I was going also didn't come across...)
:)
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Pego » Sat May 04, 2013 4:45 am

jhc68 wrote:I had no reasonable reply because I couldn't understand how anyone on earth would NOT be interested in such data.
Other examples from your experience?


When my female co-workers talk about their mundane chores, I would mention what an important job I have to do - to make my picks for fantasy track.

I get those patronizing smiles back - as expected, really 8-) .
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Vielleicht » Sat May 04, 2013 4:46 am

Many people around me bought the conspiracy theory that Liu Xiang pulled out of both Olympics because of some sinister reason other than injury.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Marlow » Sat May 04, 2013 5:07 am

jhc68 wrote:how wonkish all of us are who post here

I learned FORTY years ago not to EVER mention anything related to Track & Field to infidels (everyone else). Our obsession with this sport does not compute. People understand others with a passion for football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, NASCAR . . . but just try to work some T&F stats into a conversation? It's the men in the white suits for you! :shock: :D
My wife STILL rolls her eyes at me when I'm reading eTrackNewletter. "It's just a bunch of random numbers!" she says, shaking her head. To which I reply, "Yes dear, but they make me happy . . . " :D
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby lonewolf » Sat May 04, 2013 5:44 am

The puzzle to me is: When I mention to a civilian friend that I will be gone for a few days or a week for a track meet, some, who have a vague recollection/knowledge that, once upon a time, I was a runner/jumper of modest talent, assume I will be competing.
Do they really think there are 80 year olds competing in the Olympic Trials?
..which they confuse with the Olympics. :?
...and, of course, any race over a mile is a "marathon".
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby kuha » Sat May 04, 2013 6:12 am

Marlow wrote:I learned FORTY years ago not to EVER mention anything related to Track & Field to infidels (everyone else). Our obsession with this sport does not compute.


Yup. It can serve as a point of humor, a kind of "can you believe it" thing, or simply as evidence of a unique and quirky personality. But there's no reason in the world that any significant percentage of folks should give a hoot about any of it.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby unclezadok » Sat May 04, 2013 6:23 am

kuha wrote:
Marlow wrote:I learned FORTY years ago not to EVER mention anything related to Track & Field to infidels (everyone else). Our obsession with this sport does not compute.


Yup. It can serve as a point of humor, a kind of "can you believe it" thing, or simply as evidence of a unique and quirky personality. But there's no reason in the world that any significant percentage of folks should give a hoot about any of it.


On the other hand, they probably don't give a hoot about anything else either.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby kuha » Sat May 04, 2013 6:28 am

unclezadok wrote:
kuha wrote:
Marlow wrote:I learned FORTY years ago not to EVER mention anything related to Track & Field to infidels (everyone else). Our obsession with this sport does not compute.


Yup. It can serve as a point of humor, a kind of "can you believe it" thing, or simply as evidence of a unique and quirky personality. But there's no reason in the world that any significant percentage of folks should give a hoot about any of it.


On the other hand, they probably don't give a hoot about anything else either.


In the name of fairness, I would disagree. Many are interested in all sorts of things that "we" don't care about. I have no problem with that.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby scottmitchell74 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:32 am

Yes, when I get wound up at work, I get the "1000 yard stare" from people. My wife likes T&F somewhere between us wonks, and the general population, but even so her eyes start glazing over when the conversation goes to far beyond simply "who won?"

SO! That's why I come here, to get my fix with like-minded folk.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby jeremyp » Sat May 04, 2013 6:38 am

I have a friend who buys old British movies ("Smiley's People" is a fave) and watches it over and over. If you visit him and he's watching it he does the dialog before the actors do. Now that's bizarre, and I'm a movie and T&F nut! Also I live in Ft. Myers, where Al Oerter lived (and died) and no-one I hang out with has ever heard of him, or cares. But golf scores? Oy Ve!
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Conor Dary » Sat May 04, 2013 6:58 am

jhc68 wrote:Another cranky thread I started recently got me to thinking about how ignorant the general public is about T&F. And, conversely, how wonkish all of us are who post here :D !

First case in point: Last summer, the day after the London OG men's 800 final, I told a very intelligent, widely-read, highly-educated co-worker that it was the greatest race in history because not only was the winning time a WR and 2nd place a WJR but all 8 runners had set WRs for their placings. She had no clue what I was talking about.

It took a few minutes of explaining for her to understand there could be WRs for placings within a race. When she finally grasped the concept she was not so amazed by the race results but she was astonished that anyone would keep track of such data... Her verbatim quote: "And people actually spend time researching such things and making lists out of the data?!? Why?"

I had no reasonable reply because I couldn't understand how anyone on earth would NOT be interested in such data.
Other examples from your experience?


Her reaction is pretty normal. To a non track fan I might mention the race was a world record, but best marks for place? I don't think so.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby bambam » Sat May 04, 2013 10:13 am

jeremyp wrote:Also I live in Ft. Myers, where Al Oerter lived (and died) and no-one I hang out with has ever heard of him, or cares. But golf scores? Oy Ve!


That is a very sad commentary. Another - last year I worked for the USOC in the media center in London. Because of Michael Phelps I got asked a lot if I thought he was the greatest Olympian ever. And I always replied, "No, for me it is still Al Oerter." Many of the people there, and remember, this is the USOC Media Room, did not know who he was.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby bambam » Sat May 04, 2013 10:14 am

Conor Dary wrote:Her reaction is pretty normal. To a non track fan I might mention the race was a world record, but best marks for place? I don't think so.


Please don't bring up that this might have been a record for such a distance run on a Wednesday, or some such thing.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Olli » Sat May 04, 2013 11:23 am

First of all, I do not think there is any reason why well-informed educated people should be interested in following any kind of sport. In a sense, devoting so much attention to sport IS silly.

However, being a 48-year teacher in a Finnish university, I admit my gut reaction was astonishment when I learned that one of my students was ignorant, not only about the distances Lasse Viren had won in the Olympics, but about what distances there are in the Olympics! Also, friends of my 10-y son did not seem to know which medal Antti Ruuskanen (the only Finnish medal winner in London) had got.

I think this tells something about changing times in my country. T&F used to be the most popular sport or at least close to it. If I meet people (men, especially) of my age or a bit older, the odds are quite good that we can discuss details of 1970s T&F, but knowledgability seems to be deteriorating.
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby GMH454 » Sat May 04, 2013 1:33 pm

Off topic Olli, was at Masters indoors in Jyvaskyla 2013, passed through Helsinki, was sitting in a Helsinki bar at 7.30, bar full, huge TV showing Euro League soccer... and no one watching, absolutley no one ... everyone waiting for the Ice Hockey .. found I could channel surf in my hotels 5 channels and watch ice hockey all night, NHL, NHL TONIGHT, Regional, local, girls, amazing

so who in Finland has time for T & F,

just wait till the next Jav hero comes along, ....unless he winds up playing Hockey
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby TN1965 » Sat May 04, 2013 2:01 pm

lonewolf wrote:Do they really think there are 80 year olds competing in the Olympic Trials?
..which they confuse with the Olympics. :?


Some people think every track meet has to be the Olympic Games. One day I was watching the World Indoor on my office PC. A student walked in and asked "Is that the Olympics?" Uh... I don't think they hold summer Olympics in March.

But I think this kind of reaction is very common for any sport other than football, basketball and baseball (in the US, that is. Insert two or three most popular sports in your society here).
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby lonewolf » Sat May 04, 2013 5:48 pm

On the other hand...my usual casual attire is collared knit shirts bearing a college or meet logo. It is surprising how frequently it prompts questions/conversations with random strangers who are remarkably well informed about T&F.
A Texas Relays shirt is almost guaranteed to draw some interest....non-sport specific NCAA shirts not so much..
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Re: What otherwise well-informed people Do Not Know about T&

Postby Olli » Sat May 04, 2013 10:25 pm

GMH454 wrote:just wait till the next Jav hero comes along, ....unless he winds up playing Hockey


Incidentally, Ari Mannio (silver medallist in EC last summer) also plays hockey, if only at the fifth highest level.
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