Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kick Me When I'm Down

So I'm sitting at the computer, watching from the window my neighbor run a boot camp for the locals, and I'm thinking wow -- he's slow, she really can't do a pushup, they make spandex in that size?  Which is ironic because, you know, I'm just sitting here at the computer. But hey, once a coach always a coach.

Today my task is to imput entries from the national postal event that I created, the 400 Kick For Time.  It's a competition open to all registered United States Masters Swimmers, where they just send in their results and a program sorts the data into age groups and placings.  I mail out the awards, t-shirts for those who want them, cash their checks and receive the glory.

Except that it's kinda labor intensive, on my part.  And I'm not even kicking.

So you can enter online, where with a few clicks of your finger all is done.  Entry accepted, all forms of credit accepted, safe and secure. Or,  you can send in a check (except for the four-and-counting that forgot, sigh), fill out your paper entry form (but don't really try to print legibly because you don't know how to hold a pen anymore), and then be over the age of 18 and still not know how to fold a letter-size piece of paper in freakin THIRDS.

I'm a little tense.  Maybe watching the joggers will help.

Once I correctly imput all the data, then the program will sort out the winners.  And it turns out that over half the people like to mail in their entries.  Who knew?  My deal with the computer brain people is a $100 flat fee plus five percent of the credit card processing.  Maybe a quarter of the folks buy a $20 shirt and the rest cough up only the $10 entry fee.  So I lose between 50 cents and a buck fifty for every online entry.  Which, now in retrospect, is not only fine but would make me really very, very happy.

It's fun to see the entries coming from all over the country, Alaska to Connecticut, and it's fun to see how fast some people really are at this event.  This is a low-key way to compete, that's for sure.  Mail in your time and receive your prize the next month.  No shivering or sweltering at a meet for the better part of a weekend, no scary competition setting, no pressure to make the time standard.  Just kick, at your local pool, with someone timing you.

I've gotten lots of emails too.  Some are asking for clarification on the rules, others suggesting new rules (yeah, thanks buddy!) or asking about the shirt in detail before they decide to squeeze out a twenty. Are t-shirts even being made in polyester anymore?  Do you realize this event originates in the Bay Area?  It's all free-range, non-bullied cotton here, baby.

So back to work.  Paper entries must be received by January 17, so I have a few more days of data imput.  Good luck to all of you who entered.  And if you haven't, please use the online entry form next year.  Or learn to fold in thirds.