Just Do What’s Expected of You!

There’s been lots of buzz in the running world over the past couple of weeks surrounding Gia Alvarez and the Boston Marathon.  In a nutshell, Gia was unable to run the Boston Marathon last year, and gave her bib to a friend.  The rest of the story about whether she used her friend’s finish time to qualify for this year’s race seems to be up for debate, but nonetheless, she broke the Boston Athletic Association’s regulations about passing race bibs to other runners.  She did something that is not only frowned upon, but violated the organization’s policies.

This isn’t the first time that there have been issues with runners breaking the rules for the Boston Marathon, or any other race for that matter.  Plenty of races have seen runners commit other race crimes, including cutting the course and bib banditting.  Its all just wrong.

When you register for a race, whether its you went to the website and paid a registration fee, ran a qualifying race in order to secure entry, fundraised on behalf of an organization that paid for your bib for you, whatever the entry method was, by registering you’ve committed to doing something.  And while there are plenty of runners who follow through on their commitment, there are plenty of others who for whatever reason don’t run the race as they’re expected to.  And I’m not including those who are injured or sick or have a legitimate excuse for not running a race, and either legally transfer their bib or let the bib go unused.  I’m addressing those who cheat the race system in order to find self benefit.

Cheating the system is an issue I face on a daily basis in the classroom.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with students who try to pass off others’ work as their own, thinking that its completely acceptable to do so.  I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered students who are so focused on finding loopholes in assignments, trying to cut corners in order to find an easy way out.  Sometimes, they’ll spend just as much time, if not more time, finding loopholes than it would have taken to complete the assignment in the first place.  Overall, I’ve seen a decline in work ethic and self responsibility among students since I started teaching eight years ago, which is really quite sad.  What infuriates me the most in the classroom is when students who are enrolled in honors and AP classes, courses that they’ve elected to take, fail to follow through on completing the course in an ethical manner.

Just do what's expected of you!

I’m of the mindset of just do what’s expected of you and don’t try to find loopholes around things.  I bang my head against the wall with my students all the time regarding this.  In Gia’s case, it was wrong to pass the bib to a friend, and if she really did try to pass off her friend’s finish time as her own, then that was wrong as well.  If she couldn’t run the race, which it sounds like she made the right decision about, then such is life.  Nobody should have run with that bib, unless it was officially transferred, which it wasn’t.

Ultimately, those who are trying to cheat the system are ultimately cheating themselves.

QOTD: What are your thoughts on doing what’s expected of you?

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42 Responses to Just Do What’s Expected of You!

  1. My sons tell me that cheating is pervasive in school, especially high school. I hope they aren’t cheating! But even in my job, I have parents who lie to me about their kids’ illnesses, just to get an appointment or medication. It’s just so sad.

  2. I call it the George Costanza Syndrome and something I see every day. People spend more time and effort trying to get out of doing what’s expected than just doing it in the first place. Sadly, people will always engage in this behavior and like you said, it happens in almost every race. All you can do is you. As long as you’ve done what you should, and can look at yourself in the mirror and not feel bad about it, then that’s all anyone can ask for.

  3. laurenweiner says:

    That is something that frustrates me to no end. In the example of your students, they do more work to AVOID the work than doing it in the first place. I’ve never understood that. Just buckle down and get it done. I think in the case of Gia, she knew the rules (c’mon, everyone does) and she blatantly ignored them. I have very little tolerance for either behavior. If for some reason, you feel you can’t meet whatever is expected of you…tell someone and ask for help.

  4. Chaitali says:

    I saw this story and found it so frustrating. You did something wrong, you know you did something wrong, and then you try to excuse it as being ok and saying everyone does it. Come on. Even worse are the people who cheat on the course like the guy they caught at MCM last year 😦

  5. Lesley says:

    She finally did admit to using her friend’s time, so not only did she cheat twice, but she didn’t fess up to the whole thing until she was called out on it.
    Thankfully I went to a school where most of the students were constantly challenging themselves to be better and successful. I know some schools aren’t like that, and it’s becoming a problem at the college level where they can be kicked out for this stuff.

  6. Cheating always catches up with you one way or another so there’s really no point. I wish people would learn that.

  7. it takes so much more effort to get out of something than if you just buckle down and do it yourself, the way it was intended. Nothing frustrates me more than cheaters – in life and in running. And those who make a mockery of BOSTON of all races drive me even more crazy. I’m talking about cheaters and those who abuse their social media reach. It’s not all about insta, twitter and blog clicks for those who truly appreciate what it takes to get there!

  8. Ana says:

    I agree with you, those who are cheating are more cheating on themselves than on anybody else. It is still wrong for them to try to find shortcuts and cheat others from opportunities.

    The hard part as a parent is when my kid asks or says “but everybody is doing it”, to which I always respond “We are not everybody else and we will follow the rules!”.

  9. I just don’t understand the idea of truly cheating. I just don’t get it! I’m not saying I’ve not glanced at a paper or otherwise during a test–we’ve all done that. But you are just short sheeting yourself in the long run. And if you can’t live up to what is expected? Just say you can’t–maybe you’ll get a pardon, maybe you won’t. But you CERTAINLY won’t get a pardon if you get caught. And if you publicly talk about it, like she who doesn’t even deserve to be named.

  10. Run Away With Me says:

    I had the same thoughts when I read her story! Did you read the article about the guy who, in his free time, tries to catch people who cheated to get into the Boston Marathon? He has a formula for finding people who ran slower than their qualifying times, and the researches each and every person who has a suspiciously slow race finish on race day. That was a crazy article to read, and shows that even if you think no one is watching or paying attention, there’s always a chance you could get caught!

  11. I agree with you 100%. I think people look for the easy way out far too often. It is so much more rewarding to work hard and really earn whatever it is you’re working toward. I hope the work ethics with your students starts to turn around!

  12. bethan says:

    I totally agree with you, and the most rewarding achievements are the ones you’ve worked hard towards. However, I would say that it’s really important that everyone reaches an agreement at the outset about what’s expected. The worst situation is one where there’s ambiguity at the outset about expectations. Although thankfully that doesn’t tend to happen too often!

  13. Coco says:

    It’s too bad that she made a bad choice worse, maybe out of a misplaced sense of entitlement.

  14. I’ve heard about all the cheating that goes on in HS from my kids and it’s so upsetting. I also don’t think there are real consequences taken to deter it enough. That’s another conversation though!

  15. Christine @ Two Runners Travel says:

    Could not agree more! It seems to be pervasive that people feel entitled to something rather than earning it. If you do your best and fail, that’s so much more respectable than cutting corners or cheating your way to “success.” Great post!

  16. AMEN! on both fronts. In the teaching realm, I’ve also got many students who ask for grades for participation, saying “if it’s not a grade, I’m not going to do it.” I tell them I don’t give them a grade for doing what’s expected of them, just for their knowledge. *eyeroll*

  17. I mean, it’s ok to think outside the box. And sometimes, assignments and certain rules are ridiculous, and deserve to be challenged. However, there is no reason to cheat. If someone takes exception to a rule or regulation, the mature thing to do is to address it with the governing individual or organization to see if everyone can come to a compromise. Sneaking around isn’t always the solution.

    Cheaters never prosper. At some point, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and realize you’re a fraud with no integrity. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

  18. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    That’s sad to hear that your students seem to have less motivation and work ethic than when you first started teaching. I agree that trying to cut corners really isn’t worth it in the long run. I don’t know why Gia decided to “out herself”, but I don’t feel any sympathy for her getting banned.

  19. I don’t see the point of cheating, you don’t go any further by doing so. Totally agree with you!

  20. I am really glad you wrote this post.
    The day this all happened, I wrote a post about it. But after I re-read what i wrote I was bashing her too much so I decided not to run it. You did this very tastefully and I love the comparison with your students.
    I agree anyone in life who cheats is cheating themselves and what’s the point.
    A lot of articles have come up with catching all these Boston cheaters now, and while I think some have too much time on their hands to investigate, when I saw the numbers it was jaw dropping. I just dont’ understand the point of cutting the course in a marathon, what satisfaction do you really get out of knowing you didn’t do it honestly or even put all the work in.
    We talk about the kids here, I get so annoyed with their attitudes even when I work with them in the library. Not only do they not care, but the parents care less and less. I give huge props to you and other teachers. Teaching nowdays is not an easy thing to do. I couldn’t do it, I’d probably be one of the ones on Youtube getting sued for hitting a kid when they got to my breaking point, LOL I know terrible to say, but its probably the truth.
    Great post today, loved it!!!!

  21. Pingback: Top 5 Posts of 2016 | From Dancing to Running

  22. Pingback: Just Do What’s Expected of You, Revisited | From Dancing to Running

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