Monday, November 2, 2009

Useless Cheating

Yesterday the NY Times had an article about runners who cheat in marathons, taking shortcuts or having faster runners wear their bibs. I was appalled as I read this piece: other than Rosie Ruiz, these are rarely runners who are in contention for prize money, and for the majority of runners, finish times are all about personal records -- so why cheat? Experts estimate that as many as 400 of the 400,000 who run U.S. marathons each year are cheaters. This does not make sense to me - who are these cheaters trying to fool? Their friends and running partners certainly know what pace they are capable of. And since marathons are just "life list" items for so many of us, it seems pointless to fake a time that only the runner himself/herself really cares about.

In a similar vein, I was appalled yesterday by two parents at a youth football game who stood on the opposing team's sidelines to listen to the coach's strategy and call the plays out to the field. The team these parents were rooting for were already winning by a fairly large margin, so their cheating just smelled of bad sportsmanship. As with the marathon cheating, it didn't really change the outcome of the event -- it was completely useless!

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