Cheating: it’s a topic that comes up a lot in certain divisions and series of racing. In our area, there’s a constant dialogue about cheating and tech inspections in the modified and late model divisions. With the sprint cars? Not so much.
That’s why I get excited when I hear cheating rumors in that division.
Everybody reacts differently to being accused of cheating. Some people get mad. Others get self-righteous, hurt or embarrassed.
Me? Not so much.
No. When my team gets accused of cheating, it’s like Christmas morning. And not just a regular Christmas morning. It’s the Christmas morning when you unwrap a Nintendo and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleeping bag and you know you’re going to spend all day sitting in that sleeping bag playing Ice Hockey with your brother until you can’t move your thumbs (or clean your room, thank you very much.)
It’s that good.
Why? If someone thinks you’re cheating at something, you must be doing something good. Something really good.
You must be performing so well, in fact, that it’s inconceivable that you’re following the same rules as everyone else.
On an average night, teams don’t get accused of cheating. You only get accused of cheating if you’re doing something more than just winning. You must be dominating.
Maybe you’re winning the majority of your races. Maybe you won from the back of the pack. Maybe you won by a six-second margin.
Whatever it is, you’re performance is so above average that your competitors can’t explain it.
See, people don’t like to lose. That’s a given. But they can accept being beaten by their peers if they think they have a chance. They accept being beaten by just a little bit, a stroke of luck, or every so often because they still believe they’re in the game.
It’s when they get thoroughly dominated that they start to think they never had a chance. And if they believe they never had a chance, that’s when they jump to the conclusion: that’s only possible if you’re cheating.
So what can you do when someone accuses you of cheating? First of all, you have to accept that you’ll never convince them otherwise. People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. Don’t try to defend yourself.
Second? Celebrate it. Get excited. You must be doing something pretty amazing – so amazing that your competitors feel they can’t beat you within the rules.
And, that’s probably the biggest compliment you’ll ever get from your competition.
P.S. I’m keeping it short since there is so much actual racing going on this week. But next week, I have a follow-up post for you on how to cheat legally. Want to be the first to get it? Subscribe below to have it delivered directly to your inbox.