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Ethics Questions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I know many of you are coaches and/or parents of junior racers


1) Suppose one of your kids knows that he missed the last gate before crossing the finish, but the gate judge doesnt mark it.  He is absolutely sure he missed it. Should he turn himself in to the referee?


2) Suppose you are a coach, and you see one of your own kids miss the last gate, but the gate judge doesnt mark it. You are absolutely sure of it. Should you turn in your racer?


Do the answers change if the kid would be on the podium?


Do the answers change depending on the level of the competition (fun race vs state championship, J4 vs J1)?



post #2 of 6

From top to bottom:


1. Kid should report himself, because otehr racers, coaches and parents can see this - and coaches can file official protests.


2. Report it.  That's basic ethics, and other coaches can call this out.  If you saw it and didn't report, and are caught in the crunch, it can be very, very bad.


The answers above are consistent regardless of whether a podium or qualification position is at stake.  And this should be consistent from J6 up to J1/A.


Just my $0.02 - YMMV.

post #3 of 6

I gotta agree.  I even took a speeding ticket a few years back rather than trying to talk the cop out of it (which I would have done, believe me) because the car was full of kids. 


What's wrong when they're J6's doesn't change when they are J1's. 


I have to admit it would hurt if it meant a long-pursued podium were lost.  But, it's not fair to the kid that finished fourth if your kid is using his slot.

post #4 of 6

Agree 110%. I've seen this happen at all age levels, and I've seen very good sportsmanship as well as ugly sportsmanship. Reinforcing, and frankly rewarding good sportsmanship is important, and it does build character. I've seen incidents at very high levels of the sport, where quite a bit was at stake. I'll illustrate two examples. One was black and white, the other real gray.


I was watching a NorAm race where a skier was DQ'd for a straddle {I was close to it, and couldn't tell}, and when it was revealed that nobody had it on video, some suggested that they protest to get it overruled. Skier said "Nope, I KNOW that I straddled." No need to get into the details....but that may have cost the skier a USST spot that year.


Another time, I was at the bottom of a very high level FIS race. A SL, with a lot riding on results. Skier  clearly straddles the second to last gate. We're not talking about running over the gate. A clear straddle. Skis on a beeline through the corral, way over to the trailside alone. Head in hands, very upset. Then proceeds to take off skis and rub inside of upper thigh, and looks in pain. Everybody at the finish feels badly as the athlete fell short. The gatekeeper, my guess age 75+, never saw a thing. The coaches were all up the hill, so there was no good video. The body language was telling. The result stood, and the athlete was overheard repeatedly telling people for hours and days that "I know when I straddle. I didn't straddle", etc. There were no protests, just a lot of undercurrent. Too bad. If the finish was clean, the racer is into US Nationals. THE US Nationals. If not, another goes. It was incredibly awkward. The worst. I suspect that the skier had been coached for years to let the officials do the officiating, to be respectful, and to not complain or argue. The athlete is a very, very good kid. I can understand it. In this case, the official blew it badly. 100+ spectators saw it, but no officials. I'm sure that the coach said the same thing. The gatekeeper didn't DQ you, so you didn't straddle. The skier went to Nationals, and another stayed home. Still, I'm quite sure that the athlete knew the story, or at least had some doubt. Another thing is that at that level, things happen very quickly. I suspect that when that the athlete came to think that "I guess I thought that I straddled, but the gatekeeper said no, so I didn't."  Like I said, about as awkward as I can recall. 


Made me realize once again that gatekeepers are volunteers, and important ones. I could jump all over the gatekeeper situation, but I realized that I myself don't volunteer enough. If the gatekeeper had done his job, I wouldn't be writing this. But he was good enough to be out there working to the best of his ability, in the cold, with zero pay.


I was watching with my son, and his comment was that he couldn't go to Nationals and live with himself if that had been him. He maintains that he would absolutely know in that type of straddle. No question. I'm not so sure. I know that he would have taken himself out in that situation...despite the agony. When he was 10 {many years ago} he was competing in a National championship in another sport, and endured some real pain in a situation where sadly most kids would have cheated the rules. He was rewarded with the sportsmanship award, and it was made to be a very big deal. It meant a lot to him. It was a great lesson. There are rules in sport, and not always officials on the spot.


I would teach good sportsmanship at every opportunity. At a "bib draw" or whatever deal they had going on after thar race, if I were chief of race, the TD, the chief of jury, I'd find a way to make a great example of the kid who was a good sport and self-reported the missed gate, and reward them.




post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

I would teach good sportsmanship at every opportunity. At a "bib draw" or whatever deal they had going on after thar race, if I were chief of race, the TD, the chief of jury, I'd find a way to make a great example of the kid who was a good sport and self-reported the missed gate, and reward them


Exactamundo.  Good post!


The vast majority of kids racing will never make it to the national team, much less the world cup.  One of the most important things they can learn from racing is the concept of fair play.

post #6 of 6

^^^ - I concur.

Values & conscience.  Pretty sure in every sport we have all seen the parents who are for honesty & fair play - instill that in their children.  Seen the parents who are all about the trophy/the win, about being the best, or about beating the other team.  Regardless of means/honesty/accomplishment.  


No one respects the winner who wins by cheating - 7 year olds will call everyone on that point !  It is the rare individual that can feel any accomplishment from a win that wasn't a real win.  Unless their reward is greater than their natural sense of fair play and  conscience tolerance for fairplay/personal accomplishment.


Maybe the real question is: what is it they are trying to accomplish ?  Despite the honesty/dishonesty, rules of the game, etc. a parent, umpire, tech. advisor that allows the win is NOT doing the child any favors what so ever.  No child should be handed a win that was not properly won.  It is unkind to that child to do so. 


As a parent I've seen my child cross the finish line first when it didn't count for anything,  and clearly state his errors, especially if he missed a gate. That's what I want to instill.  It's not about the win, it's about the accomplishments. 


To use a Weems from his book - " When you ski, you become more than what you were". 


If you take a win that was not a win, what are you now ?  In reality, that is up to the parent's guidance, vision & values of how a human should grow.  Or live with.   Often the child's sense of values will reflect their parent's, or surpass them.


If a child knows he missed a gate and gets the win, it is an empty thing & he/she carries that guilt forever.  If they don't know, and they are told - they learn to deal with disappointment one way or another, and have something new to accomplish.  Getting it right.


Don't saddle children with Adult issues.  They deal well with the facts, issues are issues & the stories with adults always change.  And that is why there are more published adult ficiton authors than juvinile writers that are published.   I surmised that off the cuff, but kids will tell you a story, you listen, at the end they will tell you it's a story, not real. Adults, well, that's questionable. 

Edited by 911over - 2/19/2009 at 06:17 am
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