Friday, 20 March 2009

Sometimes, Cheats do Propser

Or - How to condone cheating by turning a blind eye

Or, to put it another way, should one speak up against injustice and dark deeds , or cravenly clam up to preserve the status quo ?

Allow me to explain. Last night was my turn to be question master in the rugby club. Very enjoyable it was too. Here comes the boastful , arrogant bit. At any one time there may be as many as four good all round quizzers playing, myself, Brian, Rob and Terry. All of us are well up to good League standard or better. This is not to say that nobody else who plays is any good - however it does mean that of the remaining players they all have their strengths, but they all have some pretty glaring weak areas as well. And why not ? They're social quizzers who probably only play in this one quiz a week, and enjoy it, and have no wish to play any more or do any better. The reason why I mention this, is that of the 4 'stars', only 1 of them actually played in the quiz last night. I was question master, Brian and Rob weren't there, so this left Terry to plough a lonely furrow, only, it must be said , with limited success.

So the top scores were a little bit lower than I would have expected. That's OK, I can live with that. For the first time this year, the quiz was won by a team other than my team, or Ron and Terry's. So much the better. Its just . . . Well, its just that the winning team used their phones to answer at least one of the questions. This is what happened. It was round 6, so we were really down to the business end of the quiz. I asked the question
The border between which two countries was set by the Ashburton Webster Treaty ?
I actually watched as a member of the winning team picked up his phone, and I heard him ask the question, and then a minute later say
"Oh - USA and Canada - OK - thanks ".

Now, as I'm sure you either know or have guessed, USA and Canada is the correct answer. OK, so cheating is not exactly unknown at this particular quiz, in fact two teams at least are well known for brazenly looking up answers in books. However phoning a friend is beyond the pale. Or is it ? For the fact is that I did not leap off the Question Master's raised platform, and confront the offending team with the words,
" Thou villain ! Behold, Sir, you are undone !"
or words to that effect. No. Fact was that I said nothing. The team, who had about 9 people playing for them last night anyway, achieved a rare, in fact, dare I say it, a unique win. Everyone seemed happy enough, even when I pointed out to a few selected friends that the winners had cheated on at least one of the questions.

Yet if I'd have been playing I would have been furious with the other team for cheating, and furious with me for not saying anything to them about it. Yet by shutting up, I seem to have made the majority of people , happy. A mad world, my masters. Oh, the shame of it - accessory to cheating !

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