VICTORY IS MINE

IMG_6736On June 7, 2015 I participated in the Stonewall Regatta rowing three events: women’s open 8+, women’s novice 4+, and women’s novice 8+ all at the 1k distance.

On this particular Sunday, we had what can only be described as a series of unfortunate events.  One was in the women’s 4+ race (the “+” means we had a coxswain) where the club in the lane on our starboard side decided to cut into our lane, which is apparently a big no-no so our wise cox filed a protest when we got back and nothing ever came of it so the 5 of us went on with our lives.

This Sunday, I went to practice like I normally do and as we were working on the boats my coach says, “Oh, hey, Nicole, I have something for you.”  Naturally I assumed it was his undying love, affection and an engagement ring, because, you know, that’s something that happens to some people. But instead he says, “I’ve got a medal for you. You know that novice 4? Turns out, you guys won.”

Wait, what? I was so shocked my response was, “So, did you mug the other team in the parking lot after the race and steal their medals? Is that what happened? Because if so, I’m okay with that and I’ll always give you an alibi.”

IMG_6735*Cue dramatic music and lean in in your gossip stance* Turns out, they lied. Not only did the other club cut into our lane, but they cheated on a second level.  The novice category is open to people who have not been racing a full year.  Turns out, they had people who were not novices in the boat.  Or as my mother eagerly offered, “So they had RINGERS!”

I had originally suggested we have a formal ceremony to award us the medals as the rightful winners, inviting the offending boat club to attend so they could apologize to us for not only cheating but for being so bad at it that they got caught. Naturally, we would get flowers and make a gracious speech about how winning wasn’t everything and we were just glad that in the end, the right, sportsmanlike thing was done. Then, later in the parking lot, we’d corner them and be like, “You ever pull that shit again, I’ll put an oar so far up your ass the handle’ll come out the top of your head, you got me, you shitheads?”

Instead, my coach tossed the medal at me after practice and I wore it on the Metro ride home like the goober that I am.

What’s an appropriate punishment for cheating in a race?

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