Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Thu May 29 08:30:33 EDT 2003

> It would depend on the situation. During the London marathon no, I
> wouldn't say that. But say in a friendly race against a child who is going
> to be badly upset to be roundly beaten I would say, yes, it would be
> better to rein oneself in a bit & run more slowly so the child could keep
> up. Or during a fun run with friends who are getting a bit of exercise &
> chatting. Or in a lot of other circumstances

It depends on the purpose of the "race" then.  There is a school of thought
that says failing to make use of ones talents is immoral - up to a point. I
know a genius-IQ friend of my son's was not considered to behave well when
he deliberately handed in substandard work, just to look "like the others".

I have a tiny bit of experience with this reining in thing - and it doesn't
tend to make most people feel good. I enjoy playing Scrabble, but the only
person with whom I can play a fair-handed game is myself. If playing with
social players or with my kids or most relatives, I had to rein in so as not
to beat them by much - if at all. Thus they either complain that I'm not
trying, or won't play me because I *am* trying.

However, if I play with a *good* habitual player - i.e. my own sister or one
particular acquaintance- I almost always lose.

I've never found anyone who is close enough to my level for me to enjoy the
uncertainty of whether or not I can win. And so I play right hand against
left hand - and once beat myself by about 200 points, proving that luck *is*
a big part of the game when the players are evenly matched.

And the point of all this is - not much. I shall retire.


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