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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Cross Country Tweet-Gate: Truth Revealed

Saturday's invitational at Harvest Christian Academy was a learning experience for us all. The varsity fought hard, and attempted to come from behind against a very talented HCA team that placed 5 runners in the Top 10 of their home meet.

Following the Varsity race, Coach Clarey sent this text message to Mr. Goff, for an update on the team performance, as he was out of town:

Later, Mr. Goff's tweet about the team included details on Matt's record breaking performance, and two Top 12 finishes from Webster and Nosek. What 140 characters didn't reveal, and later were viewed with negativity, were the remarks about how our #4 runner was grabbed by the front of his jersey and thrown to the ground.  Andrew Kantola raced to the top of the hill on mile 1, and was grabbed by the front of his jersey and thrown to the ground. His teammates reported a runner in a black jersey doing it, but we could not verify who it was.  Clearly this is not part of what cross country is supposed to be, and in this instance with the "eeesh" part to the personal text  which Mr. Goff received was in regard to such an awful act by an opposing runner.

What would continue to be highlights for the meet, which he later shared, were the places of our top 5 runners: which included a sub 18 performance by Heiser (season's best, and one of his best career races) and a career PR effort from Purcell, who placed in our Varsity's top 5 for the first time in his career.

Truth #1:  The text message that went on Twitter included 140 characters that looked to demean the Varsity. But with the details above, should clarify the fact that a heinous act by an opposing runner is the origin of the "eeesh" that some on Twitter and Facebook may have taken offense to this weekend.

Truth #2:  Mr. Goff, while on vacation with his family, had every good intention to share the great news about all of his Kaneland programs. At the time he posted, he received three different messages from coaches, and copied text to tweet, but was limited in 140 characters.  Thus the truth was cut out of his message, and looked like the rest of the varsity did poorly.  If you've paid attention to any and all of his previous thousands of tweets, you'd know that this would never be the case.

As soon as he learned that the post included the front end of details about the varsity race ("eeesh"), but that the rest of the text about the incident was not included, he removed the tweet and replaced it with individual finishes for the scoring runners of the varsity team.

Truth #3:  EVERYONE can learn a valuable lesson from this instance where when we post any details or information, photos, video, or experiences, there is a HUGE network of people that are connected to your submissions online.  The tweet was removed as soon as the error was found, but even Facebook picks up tweets from Mr. Goff, and spread the word further.

On behalf of myself, and my Athletic Director, the events of this "Tweet-Gate" of sorts probably caused frustration, angst, bitterness and confusion for those who read the original tweet. The reality is that all did not know the FULL story. If any runner, parent, fan, or administrator should care to speak with Coach Clarey directly about this, feel free. The best of intentions are always there to promote our team and sport. In this instance, a portion of text looked questionable. The truth is, every one of us can and should continue to both support our Kaneland Knights with the positive nature that Mr. Goff brings to his posts, and that we must all take a vigilant look at what we post before we hit "send."

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