Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Leopard's Spots

In 2009 I was elected president of the DC Road Runners Club, a post for which, coming into it as club director of training, I had a lot of ideas that I hoped to implement so the club could become more inclusive of and welcoming to ordinary runners.  I immediately ran into  buzz-saw of opposition from a group of 20-somethings on the board led by Brian Danza, who hated my style (from the training side of the club, not the Alpha side) and my age and within a year I resigned when one board meeting nearly ended in a fracas between me and him and three of his cronies.

I have always regretted that, not the near-fistfight in the restaurant (they totally dissed my friend John Braden at the meeting who was there as my guest) but the whole sorry mess of trying to run underwater all those months.  I learned that you need your people on a board, it's not enough just to do good work and think that people will adhere to long-standing custom and common civility.

I moved on from the club and I rarely speak with anyone from it.  Brian subsequently became president and then recently, after some particularly outrageous remarks dissing ordinary runners that made it into the Washington Post, someone else was elected president (selected would be a better word), from the training side.  : )  Over the weekend, out of the clear blue sky, I received this email from Brian in my personal account:

Hey Peter, long time no see/talk, 

I think I spotted you on the C&O canal today, well actually you were on Cap Crescent, and I was on the C&O. 

I was so concentrated on making it to the bathroom at Fletchers that I didn't notice you until you were directly beside me. 

How's your running been? Still have nagging injuries? You look like you are in the best shape since I've known you. 


Here's what I sent in reply a couple of days later:

Good to hear from you Brian,

No that wasn't me on the C&O, this weekend I was on the W&OD. It must have been my doppelgänger.  

Take care,


People don't change but I suppose they can mature.

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