Sunday, September 4, 2011
Perception as reality
I am paddling down to Garborator, a world class wave on the ottawa river. It is flat. This river is more like a a series of lakes with ramps that connect them. As I paddle, I see a man speaking, yelling almost. He is really hyped up about something. Then I see that he actually has a camera in his hand facing himself. He is documenting his exploits, whatever they are.
We make it to Garb. We are watching as Dane Jackson, Emily Jackson, EJ, and Nick Troutman show the family dominance of the industry. I swim through Garb for fun. As I am walking back up there is that guy again yelling to his camera, by himself.
This is not abnormal. Kayakers running around developing media to show the world what they are doing.
Then there are the people that see it. They think that these media producers are those at the top of the game. They are. These people are amazing, but there is a particular type of person that makes it to that level, the type of person that also hypes their level and product.. Due to these media projects they become a product too.
You can feel it.
When you see them you know who they are. It is like going to safeway and looking at soda. When you see a brand called Great Value there is no response. Then you look at Coca-Cola and there is some reaction that is programmed. It feels special.
That is what happens when you see the media hyped kayakers. They are special, you watch them because you already know them. You watch what they do because you have seen how good they are. You want to see what made them that way.
But for every 1 media hyped kayakers there are 100 that can do almost what they can do, or perhaps have done more for the sport by teaching or being a steward for the sport.
Perhaps that 5% difference in skill level merits the perceptual difference. Perhaps I am just bitter that my ego is being crushed or that I feel strange around these "Stars". I think that when you make it out to these places you realize that there are many people out there making a difference and the people that produce media doesn't always match exactly what the scene is really doing.
I am not trying to lower what the pros do. They are amazing. I am just saying there must be the awareness that they are the tip of an iceberg that is mostly under water, under the radar, and they float on top.