TCI Friday works best when you weigh in. Make yourself heard. Toss your penny in the fountain.
My friend Kimberly is a gifted athlete. If she’s reading this right now, I feel certain that she is cringing, but the fact remains that she is one of the top masters’ female rowers in the country. She’s a tower of power, and by her own admission she spends an inordinate amount of time rowing, traveling to row, training to row, and trying to keep her rowing team together.
I know her because we work out together. She has a dark sense of humor, a filthy mouth and an irrational drive to push herself too far. In short, we are kindred spirits. I’m not even sure what kindred means or if we have actual spirits. But anyway.
Kimberly was texting me the other night, and she said, “How do you hang out with NARPs (not athletic regular people) in your life? Or what if you want to do sports with your NARP people because you love them, and you both love the same sport, but it’s kind of terrible because you’re at different levels and inevitably one of you feels guilty about being six inches taller or whatever makes you better at the sport and the other one feels insecure?”
First of all, NARPs? That s*%t is gold. Second, this is a killer question. It reminded me of every time a well-meaning person has said to me, “So…I hear you’re a big biker,” which puts me in the difficult position of explaining that I am both no great shakes as a bike rider but have also completely dedicated my life to it, that I am so deep in the cycling weeds that I am going to have trouble speaking to them in terms they can understand.
“Maybe you should go for a ride with my husband some time. He just got a nice bike,” is usually what follows. I smile and nod as if I both agree and cannot evince any sort of commitment to an invitation like that. Then, I remember an important date with the hors d’oeuvres table.
This week’s TCI Friday asks for your experience with NARPs. And before this devolves into some kind of condescending commentary on “non-athletic” people, let me say it’s not about physical capacity. Put another way, I don’t walk into a physics lab at MIT and say, “Hey, we should talk about quantum gravity. I read a book one time.” This is more about how we try to establish connections with people who might sincerely want to connect with us, but don’t have a ready way of doing that. How often do you make the effort to bring someone into your bike riding world? How do you do it? Conversely, if you’re new to the cycling lifestyle, how can we help you feel comfortable riding bikes with us?
If you haven’t subscribed to TCI, maybe consider it. It doesn’t cost much, and the dollars go to writers who will amuse you if you give them half a chance. I promise.