I’m worried about Flotrack you guys.
They used to have so much promise. They had a bright future ahead of them, filled with bold new ideas and an absolute joy for life. But lately, I don’t know.
I was sitting up late last night on the Googles, and I found the link to the Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms of alcoholism and the more and more I read, the more I realized that it all sounded so familiar.
Take a look at a few of these:
“Keep alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in your car”
Remember that Flotrack Beer Mile Preview when James was drinking beers on a treadmill at work? Pretty odd spot to drink…
“Make a ritual of having drinks at certain times and become annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned”
I don’t know if you were on Twitter after the beer mile, but if you missed it, Vern Gambetta, probably the leading mind in the area of strength, training and development questioned the beer mile. A member of the Flotrack staff who will not be named (but her name rhymes with neg) became extremely defiant and engaged Vern in a very public forum over their endorsement of binge drinking as a “normal” part of the collegiate running experience. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t know who she was talking to, but she didn’t need to reply to him in the first place.
“Have legal problems or problems with relationships, employment, or finances due to drinking”
Legal problems being things like trying to run a binge drinking event at a local high school without being completely honest with the people hosting it as to what will be going on.
“Lose interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring you pleasure”
Flotrack used to do a great job covering the sport of track and field. They were passionate and knowledgable about the sport. Lately it feels like they’re more interested in promoting themselves as celebrities and don’t give a whip about the sport.
I don’t know about all of you, but evidence seems damning. But if you’re still not convinced, may I direct you to the Flotrack “Bold Predictions for 2015” video. Now if that video isn’t the direct result of hazy thinking by someone with a severe case of alcoholism, then you tell me what it is. A mistake? Extremely stupid and misguided? The same brand of self-centered jackassery we’ve come to expect from Flotrack? All three of those things?
Let’s set up the circumstances behind the video. The Flotrack gang are standing around, ringing in the new year at some party. Cool deal, I’m sure that they’re all 21 so therefore they’re most likely partaking in some alcoholic beverages. Totally fine up until this point. Go for it.
Someone (but probably not Taylor cause I don’t think they invited her to their party, which is a sad story for another time) comes up with the FANTASTIC IDEA that “hey, there’s only 2 minutes left in 2014, just enough time for us to be a bunch of fuckboys for the last time this year.”
At that moment, another fine journalist (probably fresh from smoking some sort of substance, but I’m not in the position to speculate as to which one, so we’ll just say uh, I dunno weed) chimed in with “let’s make bold predictions for 2015 while we’re all wasted!” I have to be honest though, given their behavior in front of the camera, I’d doubt this is the first time they didn’t have complete control of their faculties on camera.
So after they all celebrate in agreement (I’ll pay good money on a bet at this point that someone yelled ‘YAASSSSSS’) they rolled the camera.
Now I’m not here to talk about their “bold” predictions. I mean, come on. The World Number 1’s in the 1500 and Steeplechase winning worlds is about as bold as the Bold Flavor™ of Bud Light Platinum.
I wanna talk about the brilliant decision to shoot the video in front of all the alcohol while consuming it on camera. What the hell were they thinking?
I’m not here talking about the choice of the Keystone 30 rack, as it was probably on sale, or the fact that James wore his UW gear to the party, as he probably never learned that lesson freshman year.
I’m here to talk about the problem of Flotrack parading as a serious source while continually acting like children.
Flotrack wants to be taken seriously, but how the hell are they supposed to be taken seriously when they act like drunk morons in front of the camera? Where is the person at Flotrack to make sure that stupid things like this don’t happen?
As one of the leading sites in the coverage of a sport that doesn’t get much coverage, Flotrack (for better or worse) has a lot of influence. But what there appears to be a failure in is the lack of accountability for their content. Kids around the country watch these videos and trust Flotrack for their news. That’s not because of the current group of people pumping out garbage and calling it content, but because of years of solid work by the people who came before them. The current group started on third base and thinks they hit a triple.
Flotrack needs to spend more time covering the sport, and less time putting their faces in front of the camera under the belief that they’re what the sport needs. This video wasn’t about the people they were covering, nor has most of what they’ve put out in the last few months. This video was them trying to look cool drinking alcohol, much in the same way that every freshman on your team spends more time taking pictures at the party they’re at, than actually enjoying the party.
Do most collegiate runners drink? Yes. Are there pictures on the Internet of the American Record holder in the mile shot gunning beers? Hell yeah, and they’re amazing. But does someone need to drink to be accepted as a runner? No. Is drinking a required part of the sport? No.
Alcoholism isn’t a joke, and it’s up to kids to make smart decisions about drinking when they get to college. But essentially glorifying the act and calling it coverage? That’s irresponsible. Drinking won’t make you fast, and drinking has ruined many careers of promising runners who couldn’t control it. Showing up drunk on camera doesn’t help kids make a smart decision one way or the other, and to adults it makes Flotrack look like a bunch of children.
Flotrack can whine about our tweets and what we write all they want, as I really couldn’t care less. We don’t write this stuff because we think they’re bad people, and we don’t think Flotrack should be shut down forever. All we and most of the people tweeting at us seem to want, is accountability for what they’re putting out there. Track deserves better than the decisions Flotrack has made. Track deserves better than children running rampant on the Internet promoting their own faces and making terrible decisions in a very public forum.
There is absolutely zero reason that video needed to be posted, and it was most likely just a mistake made by some drunk people having fun. Drunk people make mistakes. Sometimes it’s getting pushed through a glass door by your teammate, sometimes it’s throwing up on your running shoes. Sometimes it’s sending out a tweet you didn’t mean to. Stuff happens. But Flotrack is a website in the public eye that sells ad space to companies, charges for subscriptions, and calls themselves a leading voice in the sport. Someone needs to realize at some point that posting the things they do isn’t a great idea and is becoming toxic to their brand. Where’s the higher up at Flotrack saying “you know what, this isn’t a good idea”? Were they too busy counting page views to care about what those visitors are actually watching?
There’s the argument that if we don’t like what Flotrack does, we should look to other places for running news, and we do. Trust me, there’s a Big Sean song currently in the top 40 that highlights my feelings for them better than I ever could. But Flotrack is still a large voice in the sport for many people that don’t know other avenues exist. That’s what’s dangerous about these terrible decisions. People are lazy, and Flotrack has a large presence. If they’re one of the most vocal voices in the sport, how are casual fans to know that just because they’re one of the loudest, doesn’t mean they’re representative of the whole?
There’s a massive problem with how little coverage running gets in the United States, but that does not excuse those currently covering the sport from doing their job. If anything, as one of the few sources, your job becomes so much more significant. Not you as a person becoming more important because you have that job, but what becomes important is what you’re producing at that job. You need to concern yourself with what you’re saying, not the fact that you’re the one saying it.
If you have trouble understanding that distinction, maybe you need to put down the drink and reevaluate what you’re doing with your life.