Cheat: The act of deceiving or swindling; deception; fraud; To deal with dishonestly for one’s own gain. So states Webster’s New World Dictionary.
This is the first year that I may “sit out” the Olympics. I’m truly, truly sad about it. For as long as I can remember, I have never missed a single one of either the summer or winter games. There is absolute exhilaration in each of the competitions:
- Watching athletes at the top of their game
- Living vicariously through each stroke of the swimmer’s reach as they head for the wall with hundredths of a second to spare
- Holding our collective breath as the competitors teeter and then perform multiple flips on the balance beam
- Hoisting their bodies over ridiculous heights as athletes scale the pole vault crossbar
“The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat” as they used to say on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. If you watch, as I have, with admiration, amazement and astonishment, you know what I’m talking about. It’s marvelous.
But this year is different for me. I’m not talking about the recent Zika virus scare or the indignity of the displacement and poverty of so many Brazilians due to the impending games (nothing new here; it was the same case in China in 2008). As if these things were not bad enough, we are now in a fully acknowledged doping scandal on a scale never seen before.
My heart goes out to all those honest athletes, their families and their coaches who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much. And who, by dint of their own drive, strength, endurance and years and years of preparation and practice, show up to compete honestly, with all their heart and soul, only to be doomed by the cheaters. By injecting, ingesting, imbibing hormones, chemicals, drugs – you name it, in order to game the system, take advantage and flat out cheat their way to victory – it’s a disgrace. And what a hollow victory it is, if you can even call their “win” a victory. How are we to believe they really won fairly, squarely and honestly? We can’t.
And shame on the home countries that, if not flat out endorse this cheating, look away as it goes on and profess that they know nothing about it. Why don’t we have two Olympics then? One for the dopers and one for the honest athletes! Now that would be fair!
I was thinking about this and how it ties into mediation. When couples sign and notarize a Settlement Agreement, they are contracting with each other to do what they agreed to do. So if one of them stops living into those agreements, isn’t that, by definition, cheating? I always say that we could draft at 4,000-page Settlement Agreement, and if someone wants to parse the words, interpret it in a way that was not originally intended, litigate any part of it for whatever the reason….they can do so. But what is the point of putting something in writing that you have no intention of living into? After all, mediation does require a willingness to cooperate and negotiate in good faith.
So if one party is living into their word, and the other is not; if one party is living by the letter of the contractual promise, and the other is not….what should we call it then – cheating? What say you?
When is cheating not cheating? Never. So I’m sitting out the Olympics this year. Sigh……
Ada L. Hasloecher
Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC