30 May 2014

The Fix is In.

Stoppable sent on this video clip to me of a alleged fixed soccer match between Nigeria and Scotland.  Seeing that keepers awkward flap reminded me of this story...

When I hear about "fixed" matches in sports, I often wonder how exactly an athlete plans to go about ensuring the fix is carried out.  A vivid memory comes to mind from my own athletic career.  While strictly an amateur event, it seemed no less important at the time.  The fixer was an upperclassman, a senior, who impressed upon me the need to "throw" our upcoming event, the 4x800 meter relay.  The motivation was not money or fame or fear of bodily harm, it was merely that none of us wanted to run a half-mile.  This senior especially did not care to run his leg as he had just finished running a previous race.  I was running the first leg on this relay, the starter, so I was the only one who could false start, get us disqualified and spare our legs and lungs.  While it wasn't "Sophie's Choice," it seemed like a heavy moral load at the time.  Well, not that heavy.  I made my mind up and agreed to jump the gun.  Herein lies the grey area and the part I always wonder about when I hear about "fixes" in sports.  I wanted to jump the gun, but in most situations there are other people involved in sporting activities than just yourself.  In my instance, that person was the starting official.  The 4x800 race starts from an upright position, meaning they do not get down in starting blocks and instead of the typical "On your marks....Set...BANG", they use a shorter "On your marks....BANG."  I did not have a lot of experience with that cadence so as he said "on your marks" I start leaning forward and start taking my first stride and then "BANG."   Not, "BANG BANG" - the double gun means someone has false started and we have to restarted.  Nope, just the single bang.  We were off and running and instead of DQ'ing my team and being a hero who provided 15 minutes of relaxation, I was now the lowly goat who didn't come through on the fix.  Not to mention that I was already a good stride ahead of everyone due to my fantastic start. 
A great story would finish here by saying that we went on to win that relay race.  We did not.  So the next time you here about players who have fixed a sporting outcome, pause and wonder about just how they carried it out.


  1. Excellent retelling!

    *disclosure for homebase -- the senior here is not me

  2. Thank you for qualifying that!! I didn't suspect you either.. just so you know... :)

  3. great story! I've always wondered exactly how those "fixes" play out, as well. Your experience sounds exactly like what I imagine would happen in most of those situations, confusion and panic!

  4. thats a great story. :) good stuff.