Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Life on the C-List

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?


David said...

Hmmm . . . just be careful that you don't end up saying things like, "it's OK, I stunk today because I"m on the c-list." It'll become a self fulfilling prophecy resulting in subconsciously sabotaging your own performance to keep the right order of things. (Yeah, I've been reading too much Dr. Stu.) Always try to beat the next guy and the next guy and the one after that. eventually, you'll find yourself ahead of that guy whichever list he's on.

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

Lists! Woah... just get out there and do the best you can do on the day. Some days are better than others. So long as you get to make some loud "whoop" sounds on a screaming almost-out-of-control run, it's all good!!!!!!!!

Mal :)

PeconicPuffin said...

Absolutely. The more I focus on my own improvement (or lack thereof) my eye becomes better at spotting the competencies of others on the water. Drives me nuts, though it occasionally inspires.

-Michael (a C guy who some A and B sailors allow to sail in their wake.)

Robdoc said...

Have you any information about the average weight of the groups ABC? I would guess groups A and B contain a high proportion of sailors weighing 75-80 kg. I believe you weigh more than this? I weigh 83kg and I suspect it costs in boat speed, even in a mediocre fleet, whenever competition is tight, and the winds are anything other than strong.

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