Friday, October 12, 2007

Pre-Nationals (aka The "I'm really not that good am I?" Invitational)

We live in a self-absorbed world. This isn't news to anyone, I'm sure. Everyone seems to think they are the proverbial "bee's knees". They think they deserve their own space on the web. Some even think they are interesting enough to write something people would want to read on a "blog" (ugh). Enough people even think someone named Tila Tequila deserves a television show chronicling her bisexual (yaawwwnnn, that's not sensational enough for me) love tribulations. Because of this whirlwind of entitlement swirling around us, it is nice to know that there will always be times in life where a large amount of people can be brought back to reality.

The point: Pre-nationals is a reality check for all college runners who think they are anything. It is the closest you can come to plugging yourself in to that hypothetical, yet somehow very real, list of runners from best to worst. And that list is pretty depressing to the large majority of us.

Example: Say some joker thinks he is a halfway decent NCAA division one distance runner. maybe he is having a really good senior year. He goes to pre-nationals, sees the clock over the finish line and has run a huge PR (yes, PRs in Terre Haute are just about as worthy of remembering as track PRs bcause everyone runs there) and sits in the chute with a smile on his face, knowing he ran under 25 minutes. He thinks that is a pretty good time. He thinks he can finally consider indulging in some type of self-respect.

He later finds out he finished 111th, in the Blue race. 218th after combining the races. 232nd with the open race. Then he figures there are at least 50 (at least!) NCAA D1 runners out there who ran at Penn St. or Arkansas who are better. And don't even get our poor runner started on all the Division 2 and 3 and NAIA guys (who, by the way, run purely for the love of the sport unlike Mr. moneybags 111th over here) that could have beat him in Terre Haute.

Therefore, our confident hero has gone from a shit-eating grin in the chute to a blank stare on the van drive home after a few short math equations. He proceeds to erase his myspace page and any further thoughts about that absurd slef-respect thing. He has, after all, broken through the top 500 of college runners in America...or thereabouts.

Way to go!

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