An article on the NZ Herald online sparked my attention today. “Ten thankless sporting jobs“.
Here’s what made the cut…
- Long jump pit rakers
- Rowing Coxswains
- Formula One pit crew members
- Cricket Scorers
- Tennis Line judges
- Polo/Equestrian Grooms
- Cycling Domestiques
- Basketball Floor-mopping squads
- Sumo Wrestling Wardrobe footmen
- Matador laundry attendants
As I looked through the list, I noticed there was an obvious emission.
The wonderful big wide world of sailing, yachting, boating.
So let’s put sailing into the NZ Herald list.
Let’s start with…
First of all they have to officiate Team Racing. In my experience, Team Racing brings out the worst in everyone. From mark traps to jumping in the boat to accidentally hiking out and hitting the other boat. To flogging the sails and crashing into others, Team Racing really is a fantastic discipline of our sport. Umpires never seem to make the right call for the team that called the protest, and the boats are treated like a dirty pair of undies. I’ve witnessed outright abuse of the Umpires over the years and somehow these thankless people just keep going back for more. Umpires. Why? Because I think they just love sailing.
It might seem like glitz and glamour for this extra special group of the sport, but late nights, hours of study, and having books literally thrown at them makes me really wonder why they take the job on. If they throw out a protest, they have no idea what they’re doing. If they DSQ a boat, they have no idea what they’re doing. If they DSQ both boats, then they better check their tyres before heading home. Love them or hate them, judges are required on the course because no matter what you say, you will go for that extra ooch and pump down a wave to get the edge over your competitor – come on don’t shake your head, we have all done it. Judges. Why? Because I think they just love sailing.
Banging tillers on the deck in unison – the sound of sailors who just want the Race Officer and their team to get on with it and stop fussing around with the course. The same group of sailors that will complain if the top mark isn’t in the right place, or the reaching angle was wrong for their class, or that the gate marks were bias making it a soliders course. And then there’s the start line. Heaven forbid the Race Officer get’s this one wrong!!! They cop it from everyone really and sometimes end up in front of the judges in the protest room justifying their decisions usually made in less than favourable conditions (not all the time, but you know, lot’s of the time). On a plus side they do get to play with GPS’s, radios, whistles, compasses, line length guessing devises, really loud horns and pretty flags. Race Officers. Why? Because I think they just love sailing.
Hmmmm this is an interesting one because it’s something that I do. As a real job. For the last 10 years. Yes… 10… Whole… Years… Ok so admittedly, I do get paid to do my job and show up for work from Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. And then stay after work for committee meetings, and making time to chat to class reps outside hours, and then work on weekends because that’s when most of the racing happens, and then work through the night for offshore races. The Notice of Race the Sailing Instructions, the promotional material, the website. The results. THE HANDICAPS. Wow… The Handicaps. Something that no one ever gets right, unless the guy that never wins does win, but then his handicap changes again, so it’s back to square one… It’s a thankless job with most of the feedback focused on what you didn’t get right, and what you got wrong, and things you didn’t get right, and… Well you get my drift. It’s a job that requires knowledge in lots of different areas, but one of the main requirements is patience, and accepting that your job is to manage people’s hobby which means that every time they hit the race course it’s an intergalactic championship with no remorse. Race Administrator. Why? Because I think know I just love sailing.
Sailing is awesome. We are involved in such a kick-ass sport where the options are endless. Thank goodness the whole world hasn’t caught on yet, because it’s already pretty hectic out there on the waterways!
9.7 times out of 10 Umpires, Judges, Race Officer, Administrators and everyone else associated with the sport absolutely loves it. There are good days and bad days, but let’s face it, a bad day on the water is a hell of a lot better than a good day on land!!!
Is sailing really a thankless sporting job? Nahhhhhh… It’s a good thing it didn’t make the list, because it’s actually the best job in the world.
See you in the race office. I’ve always got a rule book, protest form, spare NOR and SIs handy. And a box of tissues just in case the jury decide that the letters DSQ should go against your name.
Oh and one more thing. Keep buying sailing magazines. It’s the best and most acceptable kind of porn out there.
These photos were captures by me when I was working at this yacht club