Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday dear current and future 2014 USAT members,
Happy Birthday to You

(Thank goodness this is in print. Otherwise, you'd have to hear me sing and there's a very high probability that you wouldn't enjoy that.)

If today is you actual birthday, happy birthday and I wish you all the best. If your birthday is at sometime in the future, you who are a triathlete and will be competing in at least one race during the 2014 calendar, today is also your birthday and I wish you all the best.

A couple of years ago, it wasn't always the case. You would show up to a race with your USAT card and a government issued ID. They would check both and your race age would equal your actual age. For some, they could race on Saturday at one age and on Sunday at a different age. Even better, they could actually change age groups in the middle of the season.

Then, something miraculous happened. USAT started keeping track of your race results. It's true. Then, for some reason, they started keeping score and giving you a ranking. In 2013, I was roughly in the 83.5 percentile with a ranking of 755. I have absolutely no idea what this means. The Ranking Site can be found here in case you are interested in not understanding your percentile and ranking number.

It was right around this time that the ranking people noticed a problem. They were having issues providing accurate ranking numbers (I don't think this has changed much). Of course, they blamed something else. You. You were the problems. See, many of you people were having birthdays. And, as I mentioned before, some of you were aging up to a new group dead smack in the middle of the season. This fact crashed the algorithm and was one of the reasons for the housing market crash a few years ago (you'd have to read the entire manuscript, it's buried near the back).

Well, the USAT ranking people didn't want the housing market to continue it's downward slide. Therefore, they came up with this brilliant idea. What if- and they were just thinking out loud during one of the staff meetings- everyone on the planet had the exact same birthday?

Now, the executives were immediately hooked. The Techs didn't think this was realistic but since when to execs listen to techs? Therefore, they changed the USAT rules. You race age is now whatever your age will be on December 31 (yesterday, for those of you reading in real time). Here's the exact rule:
3.2 Age Group Competition.a. All age group athletes must participate and compete in the age group division corresponding to the athlete’s age on December 31 of the year of the event.
Given that the USAT follows the traditional Gregorian Calendar, once the clock stuck 12 last night, not only did your carriage turn into a pumpkin, but you got magically older. So did I.

This year, I am racing in a different age group category than my chronological age would have me believe. I got old and I didn't even know it. And, it'll happen to you.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your birthday today. You should go out and celebrate. Think of it like this, you have your fake USAT birthday and your real mother-gave-birth-to-you-on-this-date-oh-so-many-years-ago birthday. Have some extra cake. Live it up. You only get one birthday, right? Unless you're a triathlete. Then you get 2.

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