Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting Naked and caffeinated

See, like I said, Naked.

This stuff is great.  It's also a bargain at roughly 1200 dollars a bottle at Starbucks.  

Normally I complain like George Costanza at such things, but today I am stuck waiting for my car to repaired.  Or possibly broken some more, depending on how the mechanic decides to play his hand. 

In any case, I'm stuck here in coffee wonderland with my laptop and a smile letting my mind wander about stuff that doesn't really matter a whole lot to other people.  And then I stumbled into a thought that probably does, at least to those in the running community.  

At first I wasn't sure about it.  It seemed rather unseemly even to think it.  I'm sure I might be backhanded in public if I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I've looked over both shoulders though, and there appears to be no one there.  So I'll just go ahead and say it.

I'm not a fan of Ryan Hall and I don't think he's going to be anything other than a career 4th or 5th place guy.

There, I said it.

I have this inkling every time I watch the guy talk or read what he is quoted as saying (yeah, I got it, things can be taken out of context.  Barring a one on one interview, this is what we're left with.)  Up until recently though, I couldn't quite put my finger on how to summarize my thoughts.  Until I read Moneyball, by Michael Lewis.

Moneyball is about a lot of things really.  Mostly it's about Baseball, not running.  Primarily it's about Billy Beane, the former "almost was" baseball player turned managerial whiz kid of the Oakland A's.

Billy was always an amazing player, according to virtually everyone who ever saw him play.  A physical specimen that dominated every level he ever played in.  Until he got to the Major's.

When he arrived for his first stint with the Mets, he was dumbfounded by the fact that he didn't have the same level of success.  Simply could not imagine the notion that he wasn't kicking everyone's ass.  It never occurred to him that he might fail.  When he did, he discovered he wasn't mentally equipped to handle it.  What's interesting, is that right up until the time he finally decided to call it quits, everyone believed it was a matter of time before he lit things on fire.  Despite one small detail, he never did.

Here's my point.

I don't think Ryan Hall is equipped to fail either.  This is why I don't believe he's ever going to be any better than he is right now (which is pretty damn good, but incapable of winning a big one).

Of course, he reacts the opposite way that Billy Beane did.  He doesn't throw tantrums that would be the runner's equivalent of breaking bats.  He smiles and basically shrugs it off with his "I'll get 'em next time" attitude.

Which is fine, if your goal is to continually put up American records and establish yourself as a guy that can hang on until the Kenyans get serious and leave you behind.  But if Ryan Hall is going to be something other than the subject of a cheesy olympic games interlude on NBC designed to garner home-team sympathy, he's going to have to see these things as something other than manifest destiny.

Amby Burfoot believes roughly the same thing, only he finds the attitude refreshing, or at least something that would be amazing to watch if it happened, given Hall's disposition.

I'm sure that some will believe that this has something to do with the fact that I disagree with his spiritual approach to training or life in general.  Eh, not so much.  Anyone who knows me knows that I plan about the same way that Hall does, which is to say not much or not very  diligently.  Then again I'm not trying to win an Olympic medal or a major marathon.

The genesis of the "whoopity dooda" attitude makes no difference to me. 

I could care less if he believed in the sanctity of green leafy vegetables or nothing at all.   Either one of them can pave the road to mediocrity on the world stage.

Which is precisely where I believe Ryan Hall's free spirited navigational system is taking him.

By Marcus with 1 comment


Haven't seen Moneyball, but I've got a huge tankard of that Naked 'Green Machine' in the fridge right now. Priorities, right?

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