You may be familiar with comedienne Kathy Griffin's reality TV show My Life on the D-List in which she makes fun of Hollywood A-List celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, while doing everything she can to make more publicity for herself. Apparently there actually is a ranking of Hollywood actors and directors, the Ulmer Scale, that measures the "bankability" of about 1800 film industry luminaries. Part of the joke of the Kathy Griffin show is that there really is no D-list; the ranked movie actors are all A's, B's or C's.
It struck me a few days ago that I tend to rank the sailors I race against in a similar way. On the New England Laser circuit there is a small group of sailors who win all the regattas. Of course this is the A-list. Then at every regatta there is a bunch of sailors who always make up the tail-end of the fleet, the ones that are just starting out in the Laser, or who don't know how to rig it properly, or are way too light to sail the boat flat in a breeze. These are the D-listers.
In between we have the B's and the C's. The B's are usually in the top half of the fleet and may occasionally be among the leaders in a race. But they rarely make the podium. The C-list sailors are respectable experienced sailors but they don't usually break the top half of the fleet in the final rankings.
If you've been following along with this blog you will have guessed that I consider myself a member of the C-list, whereas my nemesis a.k.a "that guy" is definitely on the B-list.
Of course it all depends on context. When I used to race my Sunfish on the SANJL circuit in New Jersey I was on the B-list. And at the lake regatta a couple of weeks ago, I was on the A-list, along with about five other sailors with a definite chance to win the day. Whereas last Saturday at Newport I was definitely sailing like a D-lister.
I was wondering whether this is a healthy way to think about racing performance. Instead of focusing on just beating "that guy" maybe I should be thinking about what I need to do to raise my game to the level where I can consider myself part of the B-list on the district circuit.
What do you think? Am I nuts, or do you too consciously or sub-consciously rank other sailors and yourself in this way? Is it better to rank your performance against a list of other sailors rather than just one individual?
Hmmm. Perhaps I should change the name of this blog to My Life on the C-List?