Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cult of Personality

Most, if not all, sports have their icons and innovators.  Some of these folks get put on a pedestal and turned into gurus whether they like and intend it or not.  Some people are drawn to the magnetism of these personalities while others are repelled.  And I don't know, maybe it's the old school 'kill rock stars' punk rocker in me but I'm typically repelled by these characters.  Sort of.  Because I also have the philosophy of 'learn all you can from anybody that has something interesting to say, even if they are a narcissistic asshat'.  We had such a person from the agility world come to Colorado and when I asked the dog people about her I was warned repeatedly about her bad attitude.  I went to the seminar and they were all absolutely right.  But the seminar was reasonably priced and for the $$$ I learned some good stuff.  The atmosphere there was unpleasant and stifling and creepily cult-like so I didn't go back when this person returned but I was glad I went the one time.

On the other hand we had another agility guru come to town and when I heard the price of the seminar I rolled my eyes and said, 'Chyeah right'.  I'd seen video of this person teaching and it was almost painful to listen to her never mind the way she was treating some people (never mind the way she'd treated me online).  I had a really good instructor teaching me this person's methods at a fraction of the cost and attitude.  I gave the seminar a miss and found out it was absolutely horrible.  The instructor barely gave any feedback and was terrible about giving people reasonably equal amounts of time and attention among other things.  One thing I learned a long time ago from the punk rock/music world is that once a band gets good enough to play a big venue and charge a bunch of money they're likely not worth seeing anymore because they've lost their edge, their creativity, their hunger, their energy.  They no longer have to prove anything to pay the bills.  In all the 25 years I've lived in Colorado I've never been to Red Rocks because by the time a band is big enough to get booked at Red Rocks they're so bloated, boring and musically insignificant that it's not even worth the 50 minute drive down there let alone the $$$ and hassle with the traffic and crowds.  Plus that atmosphere of hero worship, glassy eyed people waving fists in the air.  Icky.  Disturbing.  So not my thing.

So when I got an email from the local Crossfit gym announcing that the rock star movement instructor Ido Portal was coming to Boulder for a weekend seminar I was excited, sort of, until I saw the price.  $695 for 2 days??!!  Chyeah right, roll eyes.  I've missed the window on Ido, he's already beyond playing Red Rocks.  He's also got some personality issues similar to the insufferable dog agility lady.  And I would have looked beyond that.  I'm a big girl, I'm not made of sugar and I'm not going to go crying into the corner just because some guy with a big ego gives me some criticism.  I'm there to learn and I can take it.  I grew up back in the day when teachers, instructors, coaches, etc. did not coddle children or worry about damaging their fragile egos.  I had a riding instructor who didn't feel like she'd done her job if she didn't send at least one 10 year old home in tears each week.  Now I'm not saying this is good, she was a terrible instructor who by her own admission hated children and was only there to make money for college and frankly couldn't wait until summer was over and she could get back to school.  You could say things like that out loud back then.  Today not so much.  And that's not a good thing either.  I don't like instructors with big egos and attitudes but I also don't think instructors should have to tiptoe around telling you that you're doing something wrong.  In my mind the best instructors are those who aren't afraid to tell you what you're doing wrong and how to do it right without a bunch of ego and attitude and creating some weird cultish atmosphere.

Which brings me back to the upcoming Ido Portal seminar.  Because Ido has taken the whole cult of personality one step further by not even bothering to show up for his own seminars.  That's right kids, $695 and Ido is not likely to be there.  And the only reason I know this is because I googled his seminar to see what you get for $695 and if people thought it was worth it and I found out he doesn't even show up.  I called the Crossfit gym to verify whether or not Ido would be there and they told me they didn't know for sure but probably, most likely not.  Now that's fine if the seminar is advertised as having Ido's instructors and is priced appropriately but this is the ad for the seminar and nowhere does it state that you're going to be taught by his instructors and not him.  To add to the confusion, the following sentence was in the email I got from the gym, 'Ido's Rocky Mountain visit was so highly anticipated that we've already sold out over 50% of the capacity, with multiple folks coming in from out of state.'  I hate to argue semantics but this strongly implies that Ido will actually be there as does the ad as does the $695 price tag.  I can tell you I'd be pretty furious I flew in from out of state for this and Ido wasn't even there.  Heck I'd be furious if I spent that kind of entry fee and only drove the 10 minutes to the gym.

I guess I'll always be going to the dive bars, enjoying the hungry bands with something to prove and paying a measly cover charge.  You take your chances but more often than not it's worth it.  And it's a pretty good bet that the band on the flyer actually is going to be there.

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