By Christopher Cudworth
Down the street and around the corner I noticed its partner. It was going to be a long day for someone in the trades, it looked like. Working all day in your sneakers is not the best thing to do in a winter this cold and rugged.
I empathized with whatever dude left his boots on the top of his truck and drove away. And yes, I’m being cliche about this. The boots were big enough and broken down in such a way that they gave away the fact that the guy who wore them was likely, big, rugged and forgetful.
We’re all forgetful at times. At least those of us who are human. I left my first new pair of swim goggles hanging on the shower knob the first week of my swimming workouts. They were nice goggles too. Paid $24 for them at Dick’s. They fit well and didn’t fog up, which I’m learning is not true of every pair of swim goggles you buy.
So when I got home and realized I’d left them at the club I called up there and asked them to look for them. But too late. The next day I asked at the desk to see if someone had turned them in. No go there either.
Which raises the question: What kind of Club Creep keeps your swim goggles? Wouldn’t you turn them in at the desk if you found them? I certainly would. So some joker is swimming now in my goggles, which is wrong.
I once worked out at a club where a Major League Soccer Player from the Chicago Fire did his workouts. One day he left a pair of really nice soccer shorts behind in the locker room, which was used by very few people because the club was mostly used for rehab clients and wasn’t so much used for the general public.
I thought for a moment about keeping those shorts. They were really nice material and I was playing a lot of indoor soccer at the time. Having an authentic pair of Chicago Fire uniform shorts might have been sweet.
But then I thought about that player, and what a nice guy he was, because I’d met him several times and had seen him play. He was a class act. I thought about the fact that even pro athletes value their stuff. For all I knew those were his “magic shorts” that were helping him get back into shape after an injury.
Plus I value honesty. So I kicked thoughts about keeping the shorts out of my head and took the shorts up to the front desk, where they thanked me. Because everyone liked that player. And that made me felt better about myself the rest of the day. Besides, had I kept them, karma would surely have paid me back.
Loves and losses
Over the years I’ve had my own share of equipment stolen. A pair of blue suede adidas shoes I cherished got stolen from a track meet back in high school. Then after college a nice Frank Shorter training jacket got stolen from my car in Minneapolis.
In every case however, you could argue that my own negligence contributed to the thefts. To avoid theft in this world you have to be diligent. Not everyone has scruples. Some see stealing as the real game in life.
Sometimes we make it too easy for thieves to act. We leave our valuables unlocked in a locker, or we leave our swim goggles hanging on a shower handle. Stupid me. I deserved that.
Kicking your own ass
Get organized. Establish a routine. Don’t leave valuable stuff where it can get stolen.
Because in the long run, we have to kick our own asses in other ways as well. If you’re not diligent with your stuff and are sloppy in your routine, it will sooner or later show up in your workout or racing plans. When you forget equipment for a workout, like leaving your cycling shoes at home when you drive to the start of a distant group ride, there’s no turning back and no real solution. You’ll be very lucky if someone has shoes and cleats that fit your feet and your bike, right?
And if you lock your racing shoes in your car just before the start, as a friend once did, it can be tough to get them out on time.
That’s why that boot on the road reminded me so much of myself. I’ve done stupid stuff like that. I once neglected to lock down the Thule car carrier on my car and it flew open. My clothes wound up strewn all over the road for half a mile behind our car. People passing me by in the other lane pointed and laughed as I walked along picking up underwear and running shorts. I deserved their scorn.
We all need a good swift kick in the arse sometimes. You either give it to yourself in private or someone administers one in public. Take your choice. The former is less embarrassing. The latter hurts a lot.
So give yourself the boot when it counts. You’ll appreciate it down the road whenever you run or ride.