Monday, February 1, 2010

whee hoo; whee hoo; wheehoodeedoodeedoo

The upside of failure marches on.

Two days after a modest tuition payment - failure to reach my winter swimming goal eight weeks early - yielded some valuable educational goods - how I can improve not only my swimming but my racing - I was back on the failure track.

Saturday night I was speaking at Team FAST's winter party and awards banquet. Team FAST stands for Ford Athletic Swim & Triathlon. So I had gone through my Frazz, Triziphrenia and Roadie archives, harvested some athletic examples, decided on the best and most appropriate, and distilled them into a Power Point presentation.

Then I went to Dearborn and began my speech this way:

"Have you ever gotten to the start of a triathlon and realized you didn't have your goggles? That you didn't have your bike, even? Have you ever gotten to a speaking engagement and discovered that somehow your cartoons never successfully made it to your laptop?"


I followed that with some comments about quick purchases or improvisations, about pushing on regardless. I had gone to a nearby arts & crafts store for some large sheets of foam-core and markers and set up an easel, so I pushed on myself.

Speaking success is a little less empirically measurable than racing success, but I have to say it took less time to forget about the laptop than it takes to get used to swimming without goggles. Watching someone actually create a drawing, whatever size and however crude, just may be more interesting as looking at projected images of reruns. (Who knew?) And either one is just a visual element added to the larger dose of me carrying on with a lot of funny stories about racing and training.

And it all worked well enough that I was there signing books until after midnight, which meant I got to spend hours with my kind of people, all gathered together in a tri club that's so good and so friendly that it's tempting to move to Detroit so I could be a part of the club myself.

And true to form, I learned something. I'm not sure exactly what, though. It was one of two things. Either to double- and triple-check my laptop to make sure the PowerPoint presentation transferred correctly, or to skip the PowerPoint altogether and stick with the live-drawing business. And that it's great fun to hang out with Team FAST, but that I already knew.

Addendum: FAST friends, cont'd.
This is the first of two Team FASTs I'll be speaking to this year. My April Alcatraz and Golden Gate swims are with a team FAST that stands for the Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training. How interesting that my 2010 moveable feast includes two fasts.

And it's not like I'm done with the Dearborn FAST types. This Sunday, Feb. 7, I'm swimming in their Masters Meet in Brighton, Mich. Come and swim yourself if you want to mix it up with some very cool  and friendly people, many of whom swim stunningly well. Or come and watch. It's a metric pool, so no option to take another stab at my 500-yard 7:30 goal. But you can watch me flail away at a 6:33 for 400 meters. I can tilt at metric windmills, too.


Lana said...

It was GREAT to have you - looking forward to some epic flailing windmills this weekend!

veloben said...

Dump the power point. Live is always better, no matter how good the production values of the pre-canned presentation.

Good Luck on Sunday.

JohnQ. said...

The artistic version of writing a letter in an e-mail world