Running Snobbery, posted in February 2013, was viewed more than any of the 206 posts I’ve written over the past three years. What makes Snobbery such an interesting topic? Why are people drawn to behavior that most of us abhor? Here is my theory.
The story of David beating Goliath lifts the spirit, elevates the human condition, just like rooting for the underdog or reveling in rags-to-riches stories. I mean who roots for a team that is stacked with number one draft picks, unless of course they are the home team. It’s the reason that the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team that beat the Russians in the game referred to as the Miracle on Ice is timelessly iconic. The win came before Olympic teams recruited professional players, and a bunch of American college kids upset arguably the most feared elite international hockey team ever.
This is a roundabout way of saying that the world is made up predominantly of commoners like me. I’ve always found people who base their self-worth on apparel they wear, cars they drive or clubs they belong to as somewhat of a mystery. Just as baffling are those who become the titles they carry, say Chief Financial Officer or Director. I often wonder what would happen if such a person were cornered in an alley by a bunch of thugs and said, “Don’t touch me, I’m CEO of Acme Condom, Inc.” My guess is that the threat wouldn’t impress a guy who did time in the joint for armed robbery or aggravated assault.
Nothing drives me around the bend more than a beginner runner telling me they are intimidated to enter a race. I go through my spiel to convince them that at its essence, whether a 5K, 10K or ultra-marathon, it’s only running, that thing we’ve all been doing since we let go of the coffee table as toddlers. And when it comes to running, the majority of us are in the same boat, with the same type oars and same kind of life jacket. Jump into the pack and you’ll realize everyone else is just like you.
I’ve been a runner my entire life, and I don’t like to stereotype people. I’ve met elites as humble as Mother Theresa and actors who think they are future Olympians. I just can’t help poking fun at those who get orgasmic over a particular label on the products they use or clothes they wear.