"Discipline" Continues

By David

Skip Kenny seems to be having a few discipline problems. I don’t know anything about Kenny or what he’s been up to with the Stanford records; but if he tried to alter history, it’s a really dumb thing to do. Mind you, he wouldn’t be the first.

On a much grander scale, that guy Ahmadinejad who runs Iran just now tells us the holocaust never happened. Now that’s really stupid. I was in Moscow a few years ago. Our government supplied guide refused to talk about any Russian history prior to the Revolution. Finally I asked her why she never mentioned the Tsars and their role in Russian history. The question clearly made her uncomfortable but she did explain that her bosses in the Kremlin had ordered guides to tell us that Russian history began in February 1917 when the Tsar’s troops in St. Petersburg were ordered to open fire on their own people.

Mind you there are still a few out there who try and tell us evolution never happened and green house gas is caused by sheep and cows farting. That guy Falwell has made millions telling the world that rubbish; six days, bang and here we all are. Well, evolution did happen and global warming is caused by us. That’s history and can’t be changed, no matter how hard Jerry tries. Have you ever thought it slightly ironic that while Falwell blamed the tragedy of 9/11 on “gays and lesbians” the guys who were really responsible did it in part because of an offer of 72 celestial virgins.

Two of my master’s swimmers spend at least one morning a month trying to convince me that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. No, the effort to rewrite history is not restricted to Skip Kenny.

Several years ago in New Zealand, Toni Jeffs beat the daughter of a woman who kept the district swimming records. When the results were published I noticed the daughter’s name was not included. Someone else was shown as coming second. I asked my secretary to call and say a mistake had been made. You’ll never guess what she was told. She was told, “Oh, I remember the race. Jennifer never swam that event.” History was changed. She’d have felt right at home in Iran or Jerry Falwell’s church.

You know what they say about people in glass houses though. Be honest, in the days before the Colorado Computer kept us all on the straight and narrow, weren’t you ever tempted to improve little Suzie’s best time by two one hundredths so she could get into the 10 and under girls 25 fly? After all, her Mom worked the concession and her Dad put up the tents at the away meets, and it was only two one hundredths. It wouldn’t hurt and no one would know.

If Skip has misbehaved, there’s a bit of him in all of us.

And so to the question of what discipline was appropriate for “Georgia”, my wayward swimmer at the Mare Nostrum meets. G. Andrews said more information was needed, more discussion, more consultation. Sasha said send her home. Incidentally, one of the Australian coaches noticed my swimmer’s behavior and said the same thing but in stronger and more colorful language. Robert Nole said fire her from the team. I didn’t do any of those things.

I certainly didn’t go through the whole consultation, meaningful discussion thing. That’s fine for the public school system. International sport is made of sterner stuff. It has to be. It’s tough and cold up here. You don’t see much of the warm feelies from Talbot, Sweetenham, Touretsky and Lydiard.

I didn’t send her home either. Practical considerations like the cost of changing tickets and arranging a new schedule made that next to impossible; although I did think about it.

And I didn’t wait until we got home and fire her from the team. I thought that was too harsh even for Georgia’s stunning performance.

What I did do was suspend her for six months from team practice. She could come to the pool and train on her own before or after normal practice. I would stay and coach her, one on one, through every minute she was at the pool. She had however shown that she did not want to be part of the team and for six months she would train on her own.

Georgia and her parents went ballistic and began the two month email assault. Finally Georgia demanded to go to Australia and train. Her parents chose Grant Hackett’s old coach and off she went. It was never going to work. If she couldn’t survive me she certainly was not equipped for my Australian version. If you can’t fly a two seater Cessna you’re probably not equipped for a 747. Sure enough, in three months she had retired from the sport. Gone but not forgotten. I still think Georgia’s parents would have been teaching her a better life lesson by going along with my plan.

Update: Some of you may notice that we’ve deleted a comment that may be considered libelous. We’re also planning on switching hosts within the week, so expect some changes. Yep, we’re as tired of Blogspot as you are.