CAUTION! It May Get Embarrassing!

Let’s dig beyond all running known difficulties and take a minute to remind ourselves a specific syllogism that has been proven since ever:

WE ARE HUMANS- PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES => WE MAKE MISTAKES

Yes, I agree it’s much easier to never claim the blame and just let things pass by, hopefully in a self- settling manner. If that doesn’t work, one can always just point at “the guilty one”. And sometimes it works as there are moments when somebody else really is to blame. An appeal to ethics can often be found as the safe way out, though it is tough to let the guilt spotlight come down on you.

In general sports (like all other activities that involve an audience staring continuously) make the shame much more unbearable. Once embarrassed, it gets pretty hard to become embarrassment-proof and your audience has the power to give you a pretty difficult job: to wash the shame off.

Running history is sprinkled with embarrassing moments that have remained in people’s memory for ever. Some are washable (but never washed off) while others are permanently remembered. From diarrhea access to the inadvertence of the coach, running history is quite active.

One of the golden rules in sports is to continuously work on a safe and healthy diet. What you eat and when you eat are equally important. Especially prior to a race, the athlete has to flawlessly manage what he/she eats 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and 4 hours before. But what do you do when independently of self-will or knowledge the starting time is moved up? Well, what you might do is vomit. It happened to Joseph Guillemot and it can happen to any of us. After eating a large meal, the athlete was told that the start of the race was moved up and what schedule modification turned into was Joseph Guillemot throwing up on rival Paavo Nurmi’s shoes.

And I am sure that I’m not the only one knowing this.

When nature calls, there is nothing you can do. You may try to delay it, but you will never succeed to fool it. At least that is what Lasse Viren of Finland experienced in 1980 at the Moscow Olympics. A sudden attack of diarrhea forced him to leave the track towards the bushes, this way getting disqualified from the race. As I always say, always expect the unexpected.

lasse_viren

Lasse Viren

Autonomy is desirable in every realm of life, but it so happens that we can not always control it. That’s why managers were invented. Still, managers are also people. Therefore managers may not always have a blameless conduct. In running the coach is the one that handles the logistics and the administrative duties. As managers, they are liable to make mistakes. Stan Wright should know this very well, as he is the culprit of sprinters Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson missing the second heat in the 100-meter dash at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Having an outdated schedule, Stan Wright turned them into automatically disqualified athletes.

If you are lucky enough, nature will call prior to the race, early enough to not make you miss the start. Nevertheless, if your name is Miruts Yifter, you may not be that lucky. Although there is no certainty on the reason why the athlete missed the heat for the 5000-meter run at the 1972 Munich Olympics, whether a monologue in the bathroom or an access of defocus while heading towards the race track, it’s known he didn’t make it in time. Although this stained a bit his notoriety, he made up for his mistake by going home with the gold medal which he won at the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

It’s a known fact that sometimes people look for the unforeseen in order to spice up their lives and the unexpected may come to every one of us. It’s true that the unexpected can embarrass, but after all I don’t believe that it hasn’t happened to all of us to experience a great shame like no other at least once in our lives. It is nevertheless the way life goes, so why stop it? More than being humanly cautious, there is nothing we can do to predict nature’s will.

So let’s leave life take its course, have a laugh and leave all mistakes behind while looking forward to the success that lies ahead of us.

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