Yesterday I posted an article that I’m quite pleased with (seriously, read it) roundly* mocking the Spartan Delta.
Today, I’d like to offer my support for it. Sort of. It might be support that Spartan would actively not want, but it’s support nonetheless.
Why mock it at all? Well, this is, at least partly, a comedy blog, so mocking is what I do (when I’m not being really insightful or incredibly narcissistic). And Spartan Delta is a good target, because it is incredibly stupid.
(See? Support! I can already hear Spartan saying “thank you”, and plotting to support me right back by building me a special cargo net where the top rungs aren’t actually tied down. Assuming they’re aware of me, which, let’s face it, no.)
Where was I? Oh, right. Stupid.
That’s accurate, as far as it goes. But it’s also deeply unfair, which I’ll blame on shortcomings in the English language and a limit to the willingness of readers to follow the necessary steps to overcome them.
When I say the Spartan Delta is stupid, I mean it’s an object that I see no value for, representing an achievement I have no wish to accomplish in a manner that I find silly. Or, perhaps, it’s like a bridesmaid dress: something that requires a fair bit of expenditure that I am unlikely to ever have a use for, and which those who purchase will only use once, and which is heavy and unflattering to wear and extremely painful if you sit on it wrong, but that some people like to have around at certain occasions.
But saying it’s stupid implies that it has no value for others, which may or may not be true—I’m not others, and I don’t have any particular insight into whether a pyramid that holds medal pieces/participation ribbons fills a need for them.
My opinion is perfectly valid, but it’s also inherently personal. But by expressing it publicly, there’s an implication that it has value for others, which isn’t justified. But English really doesn’t have a way to express that idea succinctly. And trying to explain it the long way? I mean, I’m arguably a professional grammarian and I had to nap while I was writing that up. (And that’s even considering how much the bridesmaid dress simile made me giggle.)
If you got bored and skipped, let me boldface this so you have an easy entry point back in. We’ve agreed that while a) I find Spartan Delta silly and pointless, b) other people may not, so c) it has value to them and therefore d) it has a non-zero value to the universe.
But that’s not really enough for me to sincerely feel that it’s (potentially) a good thing. To get to that part, we need to step back from the Delta leak/marketing hype while still gazing upon it, and upon Spartan in general.
For all its claims to be building better people and changing lives and whatnot, Spartan is a business. The marketing slogans don’t have to be true or even sincere goals. I’m inclined to think that they are, at least to some extent, but they’re irrelevant to whether Spartan will be around in five years: the health of the business is ultimately what will determine that.
I’ve seen some complaints online about Spartan’s supposedly money-grubbing ways recently, particularly in the wake of the price increase for its annual pass. I don’t have any actual information about Spartan’s costs or revenues, so I won’t speak to whether or not that’s fair or greedy or justified or anything. But I will observe that, like any other business, Spartan is going to try to make its numbers look the way it wants to.
In general, that’s a good thing for me and for all obstacle course racers**. If the numbers are good, then there will probably be Things I Like in the form of more races or new obstacles or lower/stable prices or other cool things. If the numbers don’t work out, then there will probably be Things I Don’t Like—fewer races, bigger crowd-created bottlenecks, higher prices, and so on.
I don’t think I’m too far off in surmising that the Spartan Delta is intended to help Spartan make its numbers look right. So if it succeeds in that, it’s good news.***
So in short, I guess I’m hoping that people who find value in the Spartan Delta will help to subsidize my racing. That truly is a good thing.
Ahhhhh! The most horrifying obstacle of them all!
(Also: the Spartan Delta is stupid. When you think about it, I’m pretty sure you’ll realize that I’m right on that one.)
*Well, not technically, but dodecahedronally isn’t a word.
**There are huge caveats here—businesses can and do abuse power, and I don’t have the libertarian’s belief that that’s A-OK, but in general I’d like businesses to succeed.
***I’m talking Spartan here, but it applies generally to any race company’s initiatives. More healthy race serieses mean more good for racers.
****And yet, by their nature, one would expect selfishness and aloneness to be inextricably intertwined. English is fucked up, I say.
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