In today's fast paced digital world news travels fast! This should be a good thing, people are more connected than ever. Basically everyone in the modern world has access to seemingly unlimited information at their finger tips. Only recently have those that once promoted this advancement in technology begun to understand the consequences of such a system. News or propaganda can be distributed in an instant. Thanks to smartphones and social media one can become an instant celebrity or plunge from grace just as quickly.
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when i received this text while sitting in the shade waiting on cyclists just outside of T2 last Saturday at Ironman TX.
There are a couple of things that need to be said before I delve to deep into this. First, I have officiated many triathlons, both for USAT and Ironman. I have officiated both the 70,3 Championship in Clearwater and the Ironman World Championship in Kona multiple times. Officiating is a thankless job, 99% of the penalties I have given out have been met with anger or some excuse. Which brings me to the second big thing. I previously coached at LSU and while working with the baseball team on the heels of 5 national championships 2 things stuck out. The ball of trust, which was a giant crystal baseball that would get passed around in meetings. And the fact that the head coach used to constantly talk about the "Transfer of Blame". He used to refer to it, and I still do as the number one pastime in America.
Immediately the ball of trust was shattered. I was troubled not just by the fact that one of my guys was in there but also just at how bad it was. I had missed the first few pros come in and had just seen the head official and another official walk by me in a somewhat intense discussion so I didn't interrupt I just sat next to the empty penalty tent waiting for the age groupers to come in.
I could go into a serious soapbox rant on Integrity or character. Words that sometimes get thrown around in the vain look at me and how good I am world, but deep down I still believe that morality is not completely dead.
The first thing Chuck said to me when Kaleb, Jessica and I got to him at the finishers area was, "I'm sorry coach! I cheated, it doesn't count." He didn't know about the text, or the picture, he didn't make any excuse. He owned it. The 5 or 6 other athletes sitting there by him jaws were on the floor. I knew he was genuine, I could read it in his body language.
The last couple of days have presented a great opportunity for growth not just Chuck but for everyone. Every race provides lessons in both physical, mental, emotional awareness, lets also include morality. As coaches and athletes its important to hold ourselves to high standards and take responsibility for sportsmanship and fair play.
Read his race report here, https://www.4dracing.com/single-post/2018/05/01/Writing-the-wrong-of-Ironman-TX