Around ten years ago I got fed up with the corporate world and resigned overnight – to the utter horror of my dad, who worked six days a week for the same company for almost thirty years.
He was a product of hard times and merely letting go of a job because one no longer enjoyed it, did not sit well with him. And not having a plan while having a bond amused him even less.
Safe to say, my entrepreneurial genes were not inherited from him. What I did get from him, however, was a very black and white perspective on life.
In his world there are no greys, nor shades of it – especially where morals are concerned.
He once got fined for stopping on the line of a stop street instead of behind it and was so embarrassed that he headed straight to the traffic department to write out a cheque.
Another time, when a camera caught me for speeding in his car, he hounded me for days until he had made sure that I had paid the fine. Apart from the transgression, it drove him crazy that any payment was shown to be outstanding on his record.
But, for me, the best example of what defines my dad is his view on giving and lending.
If someone asks him for money, and had a valid reason for doing so, he will gladly give away his last cent without expecting it back. But don’t ask to borrow ten bucks and then sit on the money.
Lending is lending and giving is giving.
So my character was put to the test the year that I became “jobless”. The best short-term plan that I could come up with was pedalling my bike and so I headed off to Kimberley for the nationals of that year.
About hundred and forty kilometres in, the peloton snapped in two after a crash and I found myself in the chase group.
Our numbers got whittled away as the gutter took its toll and soon there were two of us in no-man’s-land around two hundred metres behind the leaders.
My partner in crime was a pro, who had just made his return to racing after serving a suspension for doping.
Every lull upfront led to us gaining a hundred metres and every attack to an equal loss. For thirty kilometres we were unable to bridge the gap.
One of the team cars eventually took pity on us and offered to pull us back to the front and, just like that, I was faced with a moral dilemma.
Do I hang on and get back into the race? Or do I keep fighting the honourable fight and almost certainly never see the front again?
The pro clearly had no moral issues and, with one last look back at me, he grabbed hold of the vehicle and disappeared off into the distance. The next time I saw him was indeed at the finish.
Afterwards, I had many sleepless nights as my decision to waive outside assistance tormented me. I could’ve turned a mediocre day into an awesome one and no one that mattered would’ve known.
And with us losing ground as a result of a racing incident, it arguably would not even have been cheating. I still don’t have the answer, but feel satisfied that I had not taken the easy way out when my chase partner did.
With his ethics proven to be questionable, I’m happy that my instinct led me in the opposite direction. My dad would’ve been proud.
Full Stop Communications
041 368 4992
082 575 7991
On behalf of:
Cyclingnews & ASG Events