"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
W. B. Yeats
"If you love life," said Ben Franklin, "don't waste time, for hours are the stuff that life is made of." I don't know for sure if it was Mr. Franklin... it might have been Bruce Lee. Either way, it has a ring of truth to it, one of those rare insights where it doesn't take a lot of words to get right to the heart of the matter.
What I do know is that I wasted time yesterday, a part of my life I won't be getting back. I went to the 1st Annual Northwest Paddling Festival at Jack Block Park, with the highest of hopes that there would be some spark of paddling life there. Meh. I have other things to do today, so I won't be going back for Day 2.
I am truly sorry. I want the paddlesports community to be interesting and relevant, but it's not. The fun has been sucked out of it, at least at the organizational level. I don't need to unload on anybody and I know that good people were involved with trying to bring this event off, but it's clear that there is a personality deficit within the industry and that the general interest level just isn't sufficient to sustain these larger symposiums anymore around here. Hard to know which came first, or even if they are connected. Times change.
I had one class with 5 participants; all my other classes had zero enrollment. In a city the size of Seattle, you ought to be able to find a few hundred people to do almost anything - if we had done a cross-stitch demo or a clog dancing workshop, we would have gotten more takers - and when the numbers are as dismal as these, they are telling us something. And it's not just here... Port Gamble's expo and the Port Angeles symposium were busts again this year too. There is a cold wind blowing through sea kayaking these days.
It doesn't change it for me. Kayaks and paddleboards remain as exciting and interesting as they ever were, as far as I'm concerned. The activities themselves remain part of who I am constantly becoming; It's the evangelism that's not working now. I do not expect to attend another one of these paddling get-togethers again anytime soon.
I actually left early. There were no sign-ups for the last two classes on my schedule so I pulled the plug and drove down to the Luna Park Cafe for lunch. I went there years ago for a freelancer's meeting for Outdoors Northwest and I make a point of going whenever I'm in West Seattle (which has been what, 4 times in the past 15 years?) I had the French Dip - it was the best part of the day.