Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Slippery Slope



A cool blog about the Ironman Florida (IMFL) race posted this photo from the swim segment of IMFL 2006. The open water conditions were very rough with a strong current pushing swimmers to the left of the yellow buoy that they were supposed to go around. With very few race support crew out there, and primarily to make sure people didn't drown as opposed to making sure they did the entire course, quite a number of folks chose to short cut the course. I've seen a similar thing happen in marathons that had really tough conditions and no timing mat was at the turn, which is typical for small marathons.

Just because many others are doing it and it appears you won't get caught, do you do it too because you can get away with it?

I don't know why cheating bothers me so much, but it always has. In fourth grade, I challenged a girl who was cheating in tether ball, got into my first fist fight and we were both "benched" during recess. In college, I caught a guy who had blatantly plagiarized my computer program and reported him to the professor who gave him an 'F', though I'd hoped he'd be thrown out of school. When the Jean's Marine team cut the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon course in order to make the 14th Street bridge cut-off, I was one of probably many who sent an email to Rick Nealis, the race director, to request that he uphold race rules and take away their race medals and disqualify them, which he eventually did.

Why can't I just look the other way and do my own thing without caring what others do? Why can't I applaud people that accomplish incredible things while breaking rules? I guess it's just the way my parents raised me that honor is everything.

6 comments:

La Cuoca said...

Very interesting blog.
Kisses

IM Able said...

I agree that integrity is the only way to go with life and racing. I've never cheated at a race and never will. But, I also have come to realize that it's impossible to control everyone's behavior and sometimes it's just enough to know that I did the right thing. Rather than waste my energies on those who don't live by my values, I try to spend those energies supporting those who do and building up the rewards and accolades paid to those who do play by the rules. Luckily, there are so many more who deserve that kind of attention than those who don't.

ShirleyPerly said...

You're right, Able. It's a waste of time to try to get people to understand that cheating is wrong. I can only control what I do, not others.

I once returned a first place overall female award that I received at a small local duathlon event because I noticed an obvious timing error in the final results posted later that evening. The RD was surprised that I questioned the results and returned the award. I told her I could never keep an award that I didn't rightfully earn.

Susan said...

I agree with your writing. Cheaters take the integrity out of life - the true pride of it all. I would NOT be proud of myself if I missed one single step (or stroke) of a race. Good for you, ShirleyPerly!

Cliff Tam said...

There will always be cheaters. Not all triathletes have integrity. The most important is the race director be able to enforce the rules such that those who are cheat, will get caught and punish.

Ppl cheat is their own business. If they are caught, they should deserve no sympathy.

Bigun said...

I'm in the middle of a really great book right now, Stand your Ground (http://www.amazon.com/Stand-Your-Ground-Building-Honorable/dp/0275991431) which serves as a reminder for me of stuff I already know - it's just nice to see that others are still "black and white" about honor.

I'm not on the attack, but I dissagree with the "people who cheat - it's there own business" mentality - and only until or if they get caught do they get punished. Lack of integrity effects us all, one way or another - for example, billions of dollars was lost in American companies from EMPLOYEE THEFT - who pays for that...we all do, honorable or not, in higher prices. Sorry, off the soap box...