Posted by Brian Sacawa in Ramblings
When I was in grad school for music I’d say about half my saxophone lessons were spent listening to my teacher tell me tales and offering pieces of wisdom he’d gained over a long and very successful career. One of my favorites was when he asked me, “Who is the most important person in this building?” My first answer, The Dean, was incorrect. As were my next few tries. The correct answer, he told me, was The Janitor. The Janitor was THE MAN in the building, it was HIS BUILDING. He kept kept it clean, emptied the trash, and most importantly had the key to every single room. If you needed something, The Janitor could deliver, so you had better 1) be nice to and respectful of The Janitor and 2) become friends with him. It was probably one of the most valuable life lessons I learned in grad school.
I thought of this recently at a multi-day race when I saw several people acting like overly aggressive spoiled rich kids towards the race officials. A couple of these dudes were on a pretty big team that I thought was pretty legit so it was annoying to see them conduct themselves like entitled jerks. I’m not saying that USA Cycling Officials are like janitors, but there is one important similarity: they hold the key.
If you are pissed off about something in the race or protesting a result, going up to the Chief Ref all aggressive, snarling, and gesticulating like Matt Goss just came off his line against you in the sprint you are probably not going to get very far. Race officials have a lot on their plate and are doing the best they can. When they make a note of a protest I’m pretty sure they don’t do it IN ALL CAPS if you yell it at them. If I were an official I’d probably pretend I didn’t hear you. That’s why I’m not an official. Act like a courteous human being and save your aggression for the road, for Pete’s sake.