The other day, while my back was turned at the supermarket a small round man absconded with my shopping cart. He just grabbed it and scurried away like a fat hungry weasel with a juicy chicken. I thought to myself, "Self, that was pretty brazen and BTW totally uncalled for!" But than I though; "Self, sometimes we all just make silly blunders because we're not aware of the proper etiquette."
So here's my Top 15 Ways to Win Friends and Influence Athletes from the Everyman Point of View...or if you prefer my Top Ten ways to avoid the foul stink of the weasel.
15) There is no passing in lap swimming.
When you share a lane you really have only two choices. 1) Spit the lane or 2) Share the lane. When you share the lane don’t pass, because until they invent underwater rear view mirrors, most swimmers have no clue that you are coming up from behind, and it spooks and sometimes humiliates us to be passed without warning.
14) There is no mid-lane parking in swimming.
If you are halfway down the lane, you should either be swimming or recovering from a cramp. Save the “please, please, please save my cat barfed-up the biggest hairball last night” discussion for the hot tub.
13) There is no underwater treasure in the pool.
I know that you can discover some of the strangest stuff at the bottom of the pool. From old gum, to funky and furry treasure, to water soaked Band-Aids, to what I hope are dead bugs and small creatures of all sorts. Don’t point this out to anyone. We've also seen the dead furry thing out of the corner of our eyes and we're also trying to keep our lips closed as hard as possible.
12) There is no lane splitting in swimming.
When you share a lane stick to your side of that lane. If you find it hard to stay on one side I have two words for you: “Open” and “Water”
11) There is no road rage in the pool.
Accidents will happen. If by chance when I’m doing the fly and you are doing the breast stroke, and we pass in a tight lane and I happen to slap you in the ass, and you happen to kick me in the crotch, just keep going. Perhaps we mutter a few words of apology but these things happen in lane swimming. I really didn’t mean to grab your ass and you really didn’t mean to kick me in the crotch. We both should know this and not use it to start a fight or long term romance.
10) If you have long hair, wear a swim cap.
This goes for both guys and gals. Have you ever had a 4-foot long slimy hair wrap itself around your neck, through your mouth and up your nose while swimming? I have and I can promise you that you won’t make your interval or even finish your lap when you are caught in the tentacles of the human hair squid.
9) No farmers wipe when drafting.
OK, I know that it is almost impossible to properly blow your nose when you are biking. And at he same time, the nose does tend to really run on those cold bike rides. But if you are part of a draft line don’t even think about blowing your nose over your shoulder.
8) You better be able to ride like Lance if you dress like him.
If you are wearing the matching Team jersey with a $300 aero helmet and riding a $5000 carbon fiber Madone, you better be fast. Word to the wise: There’s nothing that stands out more on a bike then a rich guy with skinny legs.
7) If you don’t know how to draft, then don’t draft. Drafting and bike handling are skills that take time and effort to learn. Don’t just jump on the back wheel of stranger on a whim. Why? Because if you get it wrong two will pay the price...and I can promise you that at least one of the two won't be very happy. If you want to draft, please just ask.
6) Help others cyclist by the side of the road.
We are a small band of fellow riders compared with the big world of cars and trucks. If you can help fix a flat or supply a spare air canister to a fellow cyclist you’ll be earning some big time karma points. Again Why? Because you must certainly know that one-day you will be the one sitting on the side of the road.
5) Ride single file.
For some reason people driving cars a hell bent to kill a cyclist. Don’t give them a reason to hate us even more.
4) There is passing on the track.
Keep to the outside lane on track when you are running slow or walking. For all you drivers out there this may seem like a strange and foreign concept (I know that at least some of you like to drive in the left lane at 55 with you turn signal on) but on the track let the faster runners pass on the inside lane.
3) Dogs like to sniff in the funniest places.
If you have a dog, please keep the pooch under control. While I love dogs, I would prefer to take yours out to dinner and movie or two before we really get to know each other that well.
2) Just say "Hi".
I like to acknowledge my fellow runners with a “Hey” or a “Hi” when I’m out on the running trials. After all, running is such a solitary sport most of the time. So unless you are really seriously training to win the Boston marathon please just say “Hi” back or flash a brief smile of acknowledgment.
1) Don't take any of this list too seriously
The best bit of advice I can pass along is just to have have fun while you are training. Because if you have fun, others swimming, biking or running with you will too, and that's really the best way to win friends and influence athletes.