13 May, 2016

Mind Your Manners

For the past 6 weeks I've been taking some yoga classes. This is something I've dabbled in unsuccessfully before, but am really enjoying this time - the benefit of finding a studio I like and instructors I enjoy. Last night I went to what would have been a great class, only it included some rude folks.

This got me thinking about a posting I've long been meaning to write here - etiquette. Every sport or activity has rules, traditions, and unsaid things you should and shouldn't do. Social norms, if you will. Many of these are simply common courtesy and considering others. Some are safety. And others are just tradition.

Here are just a few examples that spring to mind:

  • Skiing - the singles line is for singles. Don't cram three of your buddies in there and then hop in front of everyone else as a group. 
  • Cycling - the paceline is a unique place with rules all its own. Most of them are for your own safety (NEVER overlap wheels). Some are courtesy - take your turn on the front, unless you're a weaker rider than the rest and in that case, own it and admit to it.
  • Fly Fishing - again, lots of courtesies. Not low-holing the other angler is one. But there are some interesting ones relating to being a guest in another's boat - offer to bring lunch or beer, NO cleated boots, if you can row, offer to.
  • Shooting - issues here are principally related to safety. Muzzle downrange. Don't shoot others targets. Treat every gun as a loaded gun. But there are some courtesy issues, too. Like sweeping up your brass and removing shot-up targets before you leave. Or offering to pick up post-range drinks or buy ammo when someone lets you try their gun.
The common theme here is courtesy and respect for others. Something our society is increasingly lacking. No matter the sport or activity, you can bet there are etiquette standards. In most cases, simple asking will get you a gentle introduction. For example, I was recently invited on an organized group bike ride. I've not spent much time riding in serious pacelines, so I knew I had some learning to do. Fortunately, my buddy Josh was there to guide me. As a result, I had a comfortable, fun, safe ride. I'm lucky enough to be friends with some fly fishing guides. They've taught me a TON - mostly because they'll be more candid with a friend than a client. I've learned things like holding your boot out to drain before stepping into a drift boat, is appreciated. Or that if a guide takes you to a spot, they don't want to see you there the next day. 

Bottom line? Pay attention. Understand that no matter what any sport of activity (not just golf or tennis) has protocols and etiquette. Take some time to observe, and if needed ask questions.You'll likely have a better experience, make some friends, and be welcomed back!


P.S. March 7th was my last post? Geez. Gotta' get after this...

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