Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Chorus Line

"Another battle of peers hits the wall, another battle of peers...."

Per my post of Sunday afternoon, that's what I was privileged to watch up close on Sunday morning.

In areas of life where there are scores, measurements, or hierarchies, many of us select ourselves into peer groups over time. Some processes of winnowing go on for decades, refining to a more-and-more select group (e.g. Fortune 500 CEOs).

I've been in a bunch of such processes (athletic, academic, professional, and even hobby-based). Sometimes I've plateaued, sometimes I've stepped out of the competition, sometimes I've ridden along on predisposition, and occasionally I have strongly engaged.

For a few years now I've felt that I was mostly out of that. I'm not pursuing any professional or academic credentials, I'm not climbing a corporate hierarchy, I don't imagine that I'll ever be looking for work... there's very little of that type of advancing in (or jostling for) position in my life.

Recreational athletics does encourage a little of it. Ski instruction in Canada had standardized course levels. Scuba has certification levels. Running and triathlon have times and standings (over-all and age-group). It's interesting, but it's of limited importance for me. I'm not going to change my professional life for those activities, and over the years I've learned enough about my mental and physical capabilities that impacts on my self-image are relatively minor.

So Sunday was something out-of-the-ordinary for me.

Part of what I got to watch up close was a set of peers battling to see who would slam up against the wall and who would break through it. An even bigger part for me was watching a winnowing process still in effect: race winners put themselves into a different category than those who come close. Further, in this particular field this appeared to be a stepping-stone for the winner: she's going to continue progressing in the sport, and how far she'll go is an open question.



Blogger Wendy said...

Interesting post! I'm glad you enjoyed your special perspective on the marathon.

I see that the Caymanian Compass has a great picture of Julie finishing, and promises more pix in the days to come.


12/05/2006 08:49:00 am  

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