Running in races is great fun. The people, the organized course, and the party/food afterwards is a blast. This weekend a group of us will be running (or joggling) in the LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle. It’s an 8K and I’m poised to set my best time ever.
But recent experiences in Arizona and on the runner’s forum at Coolrunning.com remind me that not everyone loves a joggler. (Coolrunning.com is a great place to track your mileage). In fact, some people can be quite hostile. Here are the most common ones you’ll face.
Four Faces of Hostility Towards Jogglers
1. The Running Snob: These people think that running and racing is all about where you finish. If you’re not in first then you’re worst. They believe that if you’re juggling while you’re running then you’re a hack or publicity hound who’s not taking things serious enough.
One running snob on the forum had this to say when asked about stunt runners…
“I would define a stunt runner as one whose goal isn’t to maximize their potential or to run their fastest, but to get publicity for something running-related.”
Running snobs will loathe you. Of course, they loathe everything that doesn’t fit into their definition of how things are “supposed” to be. They can only see things through their perspective and believe there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t behave like them. Fortunately, most people are amused and happy to see a juggling runner. Try to focus on them.
2. The Tainted Runner: Some runners are jealous of anyone who finishes ahead of them. They especially hate juggling runners as they feel inadequate losing to someone who’s juggling. Here’s an example quote from the runner’s forum.
“Joggler, I don’t like you. You are are a distraction to the hundreds of runners who are giving every last bit of effort and concentration that they have to complete a marathon and achieve a personal goal. I kicked your ball when you dropped it in the last mile of Boston last year. I felt kind of guilty for a short while, but I’ll do it again if I see you this year.”
Such hostility. I don’t get it but it’s out there. Perhaps these people have self loathing that makes them despise anyone who can do something they can’t. Perhaps it’s old fashioned jealousy. I don’t know but prepare yourself it because if you spend any time at all joggling, you’ll meet someone like this.
3. The Sadistic Spectator: Some spectators will scoff at you. These folks will yell, honk their horns, or even throw things just to try and make you drop. They hunger for you to screw up. Perhaps they think it’s funny. Or maybe they don’t like people who are different. Who knows what motivates these sadists. When faced with one, just ignore them. If their antics cause your juggling to falter, forget about it. If it makes you feel better, yell back some witty remark but try to be nice. These people can’t help themselves.
4. The Jeering Juggler: Just as there are running snobs, there are also juggling snobs. These people hate jogglers. They don’t consider it “real” juggling and even believe that joggling brings unwanted attention to the world of juggling.
They only respect jugglers who do complicated tricks, siteswaps or numbers. Three ball juggling in a cascade pattern is below these jugglers. Great as they are I’ve never much understood snobbery in any form. As a joggler, the best you can do is to know that these jugglers are out there and prepare yourself for hostility and rejection by certain juggling communities.
Despite the hostile characters you’ll meet as a joggler, the vast majority of people find joggling fascinating and are happy to have you in the world. The best you can do is to remain humble, ignore the detractors and focus on the good people.