Sunday, March 22, 2009

Open Letter to Mr. BIG Ego.

Note: this is not the happy-go-lucky post I was intending on publishing. This morning I swam at a different master's program (Carlsbad has no Sunday Masters). And while for most of the 5200 yard workout (yes - it was long), everything was great, I had quite the violent encounter during the final 200 of our last 800. The subsequent shouting by the offended party did not help matters.

Additionally, before swimming, I made sure to check with the coach on where to swim, and introduced myself to my fellow lane mates (there were 10-12 of us sharing a lane). When no one volunteered to lead, I said that I would. So I did - for the first 4000. At that point, I felt great, was making all the send off times and looking forward to the 400s and final 800. And then someone else decided that he should lead instead...

The final 800 was broken down into two segemtns: the first 400 at a cruise pace, and the last 400 at 1:xx average 100 pace. It was fast, but I had was already coming in ahead of the send off times - so I figured no biggie. The four remaining gentlemen in the lane (remember - LONG set) all strapped on paddles and pull buoys in order to make the split. As I was having no problem, I didn't bother...

Guy # 1 took off. Guy # 2 took off... then me.

First 400 - not a problem. The pace was slow, but I wasn't going to tap on anyone's toes during the slow set.

Second 400 - the pace increases, but I can still do more, still go faster. After the first 100, I notice that we're under our assigned split and I figure that the two guys ahead of me are toast. I'm literally, right on Guy # 2's feet. After a quick debate, I decide to tap his toes - in swimming etiquette, the polite way of letting the person ahead of you that you're ready to pass. No response... I tap again... and again we flip turn and he pushes off.... hhhmmmmmm.

So I decide to do something that I've seen done at Carlsbad: I let guy #1 flip turn, and I make a quick turn to get on his feet, while guy #2 flips off the wall.

Apparently Guy #2 didn't like this... And this is where the drama began.

So, without further ado, I give you: Open Letter to the Jerk in my Lane.

Dear Mr. BIG Ego:

I know that you're getting up there in years, but for late 40s, early 50s, I think you're a decent swimmer. You managed to hang on my feet for the first 4000 yards of our set. And when you decided to take the lead for the final bit, I had no problem with it. Being the new gal, I didn't want to step on any toes.

But then - for the final 400 of our 800 - you faded. Maybe it was the paddles that you had been wearing for the past 2000+ yards, perhaps it was the slightly too-tight speedo. I'm not really sure. All I know, is that suddenly I was looking at your feet. They were ugly. And I really really don't like feet.

So I politely tapped on your toes - any swimmer worth his salt or who is interested in swim etiquette would realize that I wanted to pass you. You were fading fast, and I didn't want to wast the final 250 of my swim at a cruise pace - when I could have been pushing myself a lot harder.

But you chose to ignore my taps. For 25, then 50, then 75 yards. Finally - and believe you me, I thought a lot about this - I made a quick u-turn just as you were hitting the wall in order to move up. Yes, I realize that we had only 150 left, but there was still time for me to salvage the set and get my heart rate above 80. I quickly caught the first guy in our lane and was about to tap HIS toes - because he was having a hard time as well, when I felt your paddles crash into the back of my legs.

I'm not a violent person by nature. Trust me. I look away in movies where there's a lot of violence. And really, I don't expect to encounter much anger (or violence) in my every day life. But when you violently bashed your paddles into my feet for 25 and then 50 yards without letting up, I have to admit, that I was 1)scared and 2) shocked.

I didn't realize - Mr. BIG Ego - that you would be so upset if someone - lest of all a girl - passed you when you were so obviously slowing down. Do you enjoy hitting people with your over sized paddles? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Is it really necessary?

I did what any normal person would do at the wall. I waited briefly for you to flip, let you get ahead, and then cruised the final 100 of our workout.

I was unprepared for what happened next. I knew there would be a confrontation at the wall, but your voice, and the tone at which you yelled was downright frightening. I'm not one to burst into tears in public - and I take great pride in the fact that I can hold just about anything in while in the company of others. But you - Mr. BIG Ego - took me by surprise. I don't really remember much about what you yelled - something about not passing? I'm not really sure.

But it was bad. The other two guys made jokes and tried to placate you. Obviously they have to deal with you on a daily basis.

Later, after you had left, one of the guys who had witnessed everything mentioned that you have a hard time being passed by other people, have a bit of an ego, and are getting slower but don't want to admit it. Well knock me over with a feather!

Here's the thing, Mr. BIG Ego. Though you scared the living daylight out of me with your aggression, yelling, and hateful voice, I feel sorry for you.

I repeat: I feel sorry for you.

I can imagine that life must be difficult. You're probably very insecure, and if anything doesn't go your way - well, you just don't deal with it very well. And now that you're getting older AND you've got a bad attitude, your swimming is probably starting to suffer. The big paddles aren't helping either.

So even though you deliberately hit me and then yelled at me, I forgive you. I can move on, and I realize that this was a one-time deal. Because next time if I choose to swim with your program, I'm going to the fast lane - because I know I'm good enough. But you - you'll have to live with yourself, your actions, your ego for the rest of your life.

And that's just sad.

I wish you all the luck in the world - the rest of your life will be tough if you don't change and face the facts as they are (even though you made me cry).


Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach.


TriGirl Kate O said...

Ugh, what a loser.

Shan said...

Ohhhh Marit - that's so awful!!!!!! I'm sorry that happened to you! What is it with swimming - I've met more ego-filled people in the it the chlorine seeping into their brains?!

Keep on moving forward, and don't let this get you down. People who lash out have more issues with themselves than the person they are confronting.

Sending much love your way!!

P.S. Yes, I'm free this week - any night but Weds! :)

Jen said...

Awww, Marit! How pathetic. Some people. You took the high road sister!!
Good for you!

Maijaleena said...

That's too bad. It's frustrating that so many times egos, often times male egos, but not always, can get in the way when we are just trying to to our own personal best.

Damie said...

Marit, this would be one of the funniest letters I have ever read- if I didn't have to realize that you actually had to suffer through time with this person. Great job on your swim, though. Keep it up and now you know which lane you belong in. xxxoooo

ADC said...

What a je*k. Don't worry about it. I can imagine how awful it must have been but dear me, that guy sounds like a real weirdo.

Beth said...

UGH! I just don't understand some people! But at least next time you know you can just swim in the faster lane! :) Sounds like you handled it the best you could Marit - and for that you should be proud!

Jennifer Harrison said...

UGH! We can easily NOT do that Masters group anymore, Marit. You are too good to swim with them and WHO WHO swims w/ 10-12 in a lane. that is nuts. Hope all is ok.

Anonymous said...

" managed to hang onto MY toes for the first 4000..." and "..don't like being passed, least of all by a girl..". Who's really got the ego here?

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Wow Anonymous, when you're going to make a comment like that, at least have the decency to leave your name. I put myself out there as I see it. If you don't like, don't read my blog.

Ryan said...

Wow Marit, you've really got some excitement going on here; you sparky little thing. Don't worry about it some people are just DICKS. Teegan is excited about us racing together in I have to work a little harder to stay her favorite in that race; she has a really soft spot for her favorite racer: You!

I can't believe you climb Palomar twice. My legs would have exploded the first pedal stroke leading back up the other side. What did you have for lunch on the way home? Rubios? In-N-Out? Carne Asada fries from any one of the delicious non English speaking establishments that dot my homeland? Oh I miss SoCal...

runningyankee said...

LOSER! next time threaten to sick the house monster on him.

BriGaal said...

Wow! I can't believe someone could be so rude like that at Master's! It's good you have a bunch of other places to go. I wouldn't go back there - there's no reason to put yourself around someone so negative when there are other options. Too bad for that team, but maybe they should confront him and do something about it.

Missy said...

I'm dying of laughter over here! Yep, boys don't like it when the girls beat up on them...when will you ever learn;) LOL! If someone is smacking my feet, by GAWD, I will hold up at the wall to let them I can get a little draft action. I'm always terrified of being the barnacle in the lane.

In regards to Anonymous, EAT IT or show yourself.

Trigirlpink said...

What a f**king loser. Can't handle the set,or the fact that someone is swimming faster than your sorry ass so let's throw a tantrum. Sorry Marit, that you had to experience that. eeeks. So inappropriate.

Kim said...

holy bejeezus, what a jerk! i bet he has a small weiner ;)

Laura said...

I read Jen's comment and thought to myself, um, well, Memphis Masters swims will a bazillion people in a lane...there really aren't that many choices of master's classes I guess.

Anyway, awesome letter Marit! Are you posting it in the men's locker room? Just kidding!

Happy swimming, and training for IM Utah - fun!!

Runner Leana said...

Wow, that guy was a first class jerk! Some people get really territorial in the pool and don't like to get chicked I suppose! Ranting and raving at someone in public like that is never the answer. That guy has no class.