Cheating has become a hot topic these days. Seems like we attract a bunch of “Type A” personalities to our sport. Many of these people are told the rules, and follow them without fail. But there are others who will cut corners in order to gain a competitive advantage.
Let me take a minute and figure out if I’m writing an article about OCR or EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF LIFE.
Deep breath. Minute taken. I think I can keep this OCR-related.
You know… it’s not the cheating that takes place this community that’s starting to repulse me. It’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on…
…Oh. I know what it is…
Follow me around the ORM site for a minute. Figuratively.
In 2014, I was running Tough Mudder Tahoe on my second lap, training for the upcoming World’s Toughest Mudder in which I UBER BEAST ZOMGed 60 miles, finishing ahead of Joe Perry.** As the day goes on at Tough Mudder, the line in front of obstacles start to get long, sometimes backing up for 20 minutes. So when I do multiple laps, I have a tendency to skip obstacles.
Joe Perry is the painted one on the right.
As I approached Kiss of Mud, I looked at the line waiting to duck under the barbed wire and decided it wasn’t worth waiting, running past the obstacle. As I ran by, some person who I’d never met before yells out “Cheater!!!” at me. I stop and turn to him. “Sorry?” I asked him with this look of bewilderment on my face. “You’re cheating! Get back here and wait in line like the rest of us!”
I’m not going to bother with the end of the story, because I already wasted way too many words in this article telling it. If you know anything about Tough Mudder, you know that the entire event exists for the purpose of challenging yourself (you’re not timed), and skipping obstacles is a freaking birthright.
What’s really starting to bother me is that this situation is being replicated across Facebook and Twitter, where a new breed of Internet Warriors are upholding the integrity of our sport that’s not really a sport. I see people accusing others of cheating in new and fascinating ways.
Before I talk about the specific ways Internet Warriors are doing it, I want to point out that the VAST MAJORITY of complaints are happening on what are referred to as “Open Heats.” BattleFrog has BFX and Open Heats, and Spartan Race also has an Open Heat. These are NOT considered Elite Heats, nor do they have any monetary value attached to winning them. Yet Internet Warriors are attacking folks in these heats. While these events are timed, the time should really only matter to the individual as a means of getting better personally. Even Spartan Race and BattleFrog don’t really care how you do in these heats. They don’t care about your times for them, nor do they really enforce the amount of Burpees and Bodybuilders you do.
So, with that as a backdrop, let us discuss the (very) clever ways Internet Warriors are destroying reputations of individuals on Facebook.
The OCR Community members gain a lot of followers and friends because we all have a huge network of mutual friends.
People use social media for many different reasons. Some accept people as “friends” they’ve never met in order to increase their social influence. If there’s a threshold for shared friends, then they will accept them. Others prefer to add people they’ve met in person at races. And yet others like to just have a small social group online and live their lives off Facebook.
Whatever your preference, the more people you add that you kinda know, the more self-policing you require with your thoughts. I like to make people laugh online. It makes me happy, hence my rationale for adding people as friends I’ve never directly met. But even I get swept up in moral crusades, mostly because cheating affects outcomes that matter to me. If I witness cheating, I will talk about it with very close and selective friends. But I refuse to call anyone specifically out on Facebook, which brings me to my next point…
When an OCR Internet Warrior calls “someone” out, they don’t call them out directly.
To every King Leonidas out there: do us all a HUGE favor and STOP manufacturing controversy. You are wasting everyone’s time by publicly calling out “someone” you witnessed cheating. Call them out by saying their name. Tarnish their reputation directly, not with innuendo.***
The whole “someone who cheats” tactic feels like a “missed connection” ad on Craigslist. “I saw you at the sandbag carry. As you smiled at me with your solid blue eyes and your strong hands, you picked up the red sandbag when you should have picked up the yellow one. I don’t know your name, but I referred to you as Sexy Rulebreaker.”****
Also, I can’t count on both hands the amount of times I’ve seen people get the person completely wrong. More reputations being flushed down the drain.
OCR Internet Warriors will make you believe cheating happened in an actual race, but in reality, you can’t cheat in a race that was never meant to be won.
As I briefly mentioned before, Spartan Races and BattleFrog have done a great job penalizing the Elite heats. There are security cameras in place for Spartan Races, and BattleFrog employs the “cut yo’ band off” tactic if someone can’t complete an obstacle.
So where does the accusation of cheating lie?
Cheating accusations that I normally see online revolve around the Spartan Open Heat, as well as the BattleFrog BFX and Open.***** And I have the PERFECT analogy for what is happening here.
Have you ever played a pickup basketball game that has NOT been fraught with disputes over fouls? Yeah, me neither. And you know that dude who shows up and ALWAYS complains about fouls? That, mi amigos, is an Open Heat Internet OCR Warrior (OHIOW).
When you win an Open or BFX Heat, you are the best of people who don’t wish to seriously compete. Congratulations… now go sign up for Elite. And if they’re still cheating, let Spartan and BattleFrog do their job and you do you.******
** Not relevant to the story. I just like reminding everyone that I beat Joe Perry. We all have rivals in OCR and Joe Perry is mine.
*** Hopefully, this tactic will make you think twice about calling someone out on Facebook. When there is a name associated with an accusation, people have a tendency to think twice because the accused has friends and enemies. You never know how many of which bucket you have. Please feel free to call out Joe Perry, though.
**** I wrote this once to Joe Perry, though I never witnessed him cheating. I just needed an icebreaker.
***** I wonder what Joe Perry looks like without facepaint
****** I’m pretty sure Joe Perry is handsome without facepaint.