Random or not-so random thoughts about numbers. in General geocaching topics Posted June 12, 2008 After listening to some cachers at a local event talking about the number of finds of many of the locals, myself included, and the numbers of some of the more well know cachers, I started thinking about numbers in general. Here's some of the conclusions I came to. What are your thoughts on the subject? ------------------------------------------------ Big numbers don’t make a good cacher and low numbers don’t make a bad cacher. Most of you are from places where caches are thick, and yes I’ll concede the Micro Spew™ point here. For you numbers can be big. However for some cachers there are no big numbers of caches. When I moved to ND a just over two years ago, there were 37 caches within 50 miles of my house. Of them 7 were mine. It’s been great to see more caches placed up here so I could hunt them. Notice I said ‘hunt’ them, not find them. I’m one of those weirdos that like the hunt as much or more than the find. Any cache for me to hunt is a good cache. I, like any decent cacher, would prefer high quality caches. I will be first to stand and fight for quality over quantity, however, here, for now at least, any cache almost seems a God-send. When you make the argument that big numbers means you’re a good cacher, I have to say, NO. Even if all the cachers out there today started caching on the same day, they all have the physical ability, and the same caching enthusiasm, they would not have the same numbers. Your arguments are based, and understandably so, on your caching habitat. Some habitats are very diverse. In that environment even specialist that takes only a certain types of caches can thrive. In that same environment even a sloth could come up with big numbers. Then you have caching habitats where one has to be a generalist, and a darn good one at that, just to get by. Now let’s factor in the mobility differences. Once again all the cachers started caching on the same day, with the same physical ability, and the same desire to cache. If a cacher in a cache light area can’t take off and travel miles and miles to find that one cache, they won’t have the numbers. While others, even if from a cache light area, travel a lot, due to business or what-have-you, that cacher, even though his home habitat maybe low, has more opportunities to find the caches. Now let’s bring this back to the real world. Just because you started caching before of after someone has no direct bearing on your ability or knowledge. I know a lot of old idiots. Your numbers may have more to do with your environment than your ability. Not only that, your time as a cacher and your cache count is in no way a gauge to your enthusiasm for, or value to the sport. You could be a burned out cynical old husk doing more harm than good. So numbers are not always what they seem. I would rather be a noob that loves the sport and is dam good at it, than a grumpy grizzled old veteran that does more griping than caching and couldn’t find a cache if it was glued to his back side. Too many of us obsess over numbers, and because GC tracks numbers as a service to it members, we fixate on GC when talking about numbers. GC is not there to be the governing body of the PCWA*. It is there as an aid to those of us in the world that love to cache. I completely understand your idea when say that it’s a journal, because in many ways it is. Yet it is the means by which we engage in our hobby so it is also something more than just a journal. I think to see it as either one ONLY is to miss the broad view. The one thing I don’t think GC is or ever should be is a scoreboard for the reasons stated above. *Professional Cachers of the World Association (Note: This has not been an endorsement for or against big numbers, but merely the cobwebs shaken lose for an old soldier's cerebellum.) I tend to agree, high numbers does not per automatique constitute a 'good' cacher (whatever THAT is...). I have found caches where cachers with thousands of finds have DNFed. Does that make me a better cacher? Ehh... no... Does that make the 'experienced cacher a worse cacher than me? Ehh.... nooo..... It makes him a cacher with more finds than me and quite possible me a cacher with better luck. Numbers is just that; numbers. When you start caching for the numbers solely or to make sure you have more caches than ‘that guy down the road’ it’s time to find another hobby before you hurt yourself. All though in my humble opinion I'm probably one of the best cachers around. For sure.