Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Common misuse of complementary words

H2Open recently posted a blog article about the word: "Brave" and how it should not be used to describe open water swimming.  Yes, I've heard that word used before. But that particular word doesn't really bother me as it has a positive definition.  Plus, for many swimmers that are brand new to open water swimming, there is a lot of fear associated with it and does take a certain level of bravery to overcome them.  Once the swimmer is able to overcome that fear, then bravery isn't relevant in open water swimming.  So I don't consider "Brave" an overwhelmingly proper word to use in relation to open water swimming.  So I see Simon's point.

However there is another word that is really stating to annoy me in its use regarding open water swimming or winter swimming:

"CRAZY" (adjective) 

1. mentally deranged, esp. as manifested in a wild or aggressive way

Context:  "You're crazy for getting in that cold water", or "That swim is so far, that's crazy."  Its only been in the past few weeks that this particular word has started to annoy me.  (If you've used this word, I don't hold a grudge against you, but I suggest rethinking this word use and thus this post)

I had someone actually ask me yesterday, "Do your kids tell you your crazy?", and on a previous day, "Did you get a psychologist to help you out of the water after that cold swim?" I realize they're just trying to be jovial, and I should lighten up, but I'd rather these folks just brighten up.

The word crazy implies that the person isn't being logical.  If one attempts something that is difficult or dangerous, yet continues on completely unprepared and untrained, then it would be reasonable to consider the act as "crazy".  However if one is trained, prepared, aware of the risks and dangers, and mitigates those with a safety plan, that word has no proper place in the conversation.

So please, if you use this word, stop it.  If you're not able to relate or comprehend the topic, learn more before rushing to use the word.  If you hear people use this word, correct them.  I sure will from now on.  

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