So, I admit it. I jog.
I know this information will likely tarnish the image that I have so carefully cultivated with many of you, but I need to go jogging just to keep up with the other players on my basketball team, and I need to confess it now in order to comment on a phenomenon that is making me a little crazy.
The reason that I rarely admit to my jogging is that other people who jog or run, the people who self-identify as runners or joggers, always seem to assume that I must be as passionate about this activity as they are. “What shoes do you wear?” they ask. “What club do you belong to?” they demand. “What distance are you training for?” they want to know. “What are your best times?” they query. They are always disappointed and then dismissive when I tell them that I wear an old pair of basketball hightops, that I try to avoid belonging to clubs of any kind, and that I never keep track of how far or how fast I go. I jog, they soon realize, but I am not a jogger, not really. What I do and what real joggers do might casually be called by the same name, but I have not actually joined the club.
This kind of behaviour, and it is by no means restricted to joggers, always annoys me. It is yet one more example of how much people are generally interested in the signs of the thing rather than the thing itself. They are more interested in owning the right accessories and in belonging to the right clubs and in achieving the right goals than they are with just doing whatever it is that needs to be done. They are more interested in being called something than in actually doing something. Even when they are doing the thing as well, they are really more interested in making sure that they look the part so that everyone will know them for what they are.
I run into this everywhere. I know countless people who want very much to be writers but who are not so very interested in doing any writing. I know others who want to be musicians or artists or philosophers or whatever. They cultivate the right look and the right talk and the right friends, but they seldom spend much time doing what they say they want to be. They just want to be part of the club.
Well, in jogging as in everything else, I want to do the thing rather than merely to join a club. I will not likely ever wear the right shoes or run with the right people or achieve the right times. I will just jog, whenever and however I feel like it. The real joggers are welcome to the rest of it.