O Log - Space Tourism

[22-Sep-04] 

    As to the results of my bone scan, the physician's assistant said I had a stress fracture, whereas the MD read the same pictures and said I did not. I suppose the MD trumps the PA, but this is typical of my injuries -- different people saying different things. As long as there is no pain and I'm winning races, that's all that matters for now. (There is definitely some sort of bone trauma -- the technology of a bone scan is kinda cool, they inject you with a radioactive dye (well, that part leaves me queasy) which looks like calcium to the bone cells, and injured bones will take it up and it will show up on the films -- the darker the bone -- the more uptake and hence more trauma being repaired. At least that's the way it was explained to me by the PA. I guess its some sort of bone bruise or something, but that's not what it felt like).

    Anyway, I certainly didn't want to write about the WOC/sprint thing during the WOC (as Brian said, there were 23 other team starts worth writing about, had I felt competent to write about WOC in the first place), but there was one tangent, tho, that came up in the discussion that I think is worth looking at abstractly --

    As a Team supporter, I personally would not have a problem with having either-or

    (a) a self-paid full alternate category, or

    (b) a donor slash space-tourist category

    to fill up the three WOC slots that are currently left vacant. [...]

    As a capitalist, and one who would jump on a plane for just about any reason under the sun, including this, this strikes me at first blush as a good idea. Resource-challenged organizations sometimes have to make compromises to meet their goals and better their lot in the long run. Trade unique intangible assets in this case for needed tangible ones. For example, if one considers owning team apparel as a symbol of prestige (and this is another topic in and of itself), the idea of selling team apparel to non-team members is an example of this. That seems perfectly reasonable, at least to me (the trade is a (putative) dilution of exclusivity/something earned for wealth).

    But this proposal feels different, and doesn't feel right on second thought, even tho abstractly it is the same (trading something earned for wealth). I'm not sure quite why. First, assuming the space tourist would run, this would dilute the team by bumping a better runner. In my mind, that's not worth any price. The idea is to have the best result possible. If the space tourist would not run, it doesn't really make sense (to me). Right now, if someone wanted to go as an alternate in case someone was injured, get accredited, etc., I'm not sure how this proposal changes that -- my assumption is that they could do that now -- (otherwise why do we name alternates?) -- and if I were named an official alternate, only based on placing at the team trials (hey, I was three places away on bad runs, stranger things could happen if I don't fall apart first), I probably would have done that and paid my way (and ended up helping with logistics, training, or whatever). But this doesn't smell like "buying your way onto the team". I guess the proposal above can be construed as anyone buying on as an alternate, regardless of results in the team trials.

    I don't feel that is a compromise worth accepting, no matter what the cash benefit would be. Somehow the purity of sport is compromised, and it ain't worth it.

    Now, the big caveat here is that I have not seen this proposal, I am simply speculating as to what form it might take from some of the context and language of the post. And, not knowing much about team inner workings, and WOC accreditation procedures, I could be way off base. But I know that anything that seems like buying onto the team seems wrong, if, in fact, that is what this implies.

    Now, what would I do in the future if I were king?

    (a) Try to determine who would run in each race before leaving for WOC.

    (b) If there were an open slot in a race, try to determine why someone would not run a full card, and if that inaction furthered (or not) the teams goals and objectives for the WOC, best represented the country, and was the best use of resources. Without team goals, this would be difficult.

    (c) Assuming the process of (b) still had open slot(s) in particular races, decide if filling them with alternates would further the team goals/best represent the country/best use resources.

    (d) Assuming the outcome of (c) was to fill the slot(s), simply go down the team trials results list in order until the slots were filled, with the caveat that I would stop going down the list at X% below the winner's score in the trials. Note that I don't address whether the alternate should pay -- this is a really hard question, and I'm not smart enough to tackle it (as if I'm smart enough to tackle this), tho I did anyway in my unpublished entry on the rationale of not sending 7x7 (that's why its unpublished, I guess).

    I guess the key thing to note in the above is that there exists rationale where it makes sense to send runners who don't run a full card, and there exists rationale where it does not, and there exists rationale to make sure all available slots are full. I don't judge any of that here, and don't judge what happened at WOC -- I just don't feel qualified to do so without a notion of what the goals and resource constraints are.

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