Friday, September 21, 2007


I have put up with my husband's teasing the last few weeks about my beloved New England Patriots got caught videotaping signals from the New York Jets defensive coaches onto the field. I wanted to call Coach (Bill) Belichick and ask him one question, "Of all the teams, why bother taping the Jets, to say the least, their defense?".

I saw a Patriots fan held up a sign during a game that read "In Bill We Trust" to show support. The League fined Coach $500K (that is half a million dollars) and the Team $250 (that is a quarter of a million dollars) and 1st round draft or 2nd/3rd round draft depending on where the Patriots would be in the playoffs/Superbowl. Someone commented that all the teams try to create an advantage over other teams. The public only found out when someone got caught doing the actual dirty work. I don't want to believe that the best football team such as the Patriots rely solely on winning by underhanded methods. But why the Jets, a team with defensive line depth problems.

I don't know why I thought of the time when I was accused of cheating and had to prove that I was actually the victim of a classmate who stole my term paper. It was a midterm essay for an Urban Study class at LaGuardia Community College (Queens, New York). The year was 1983. Back then, there were no personal laptops and we all had to go to computer lab to use the terminals and print out on dot matrix computer paper with tractors (holes) along both sides. The front page would list names of the students or the reports. There were two or three printers servicing 15 to 20 terminals. The work-study students would be in charge to separating the print-outs, place the print-outs in the bins labeled by alphabetical order of last names and many times people would take print-outs that belonged to someone else, whether on purpose or honest mistakes!

I wrote the term paper using the terminals but typed the references using my typewriter at home. I don't remember how it happened but either I rushed to another class or to my job and forgot to pick up the print-out. A classmate stole the print-out and submitted under her name. A few days after she did, I spent more time editing and revising, then confidently handed in my term paper with the reference page. The professor only read the first few sentences and decided that since my copy was exactly the same as the paper submitted earlier by my classmate that I must be the cheater.

I was horrified to see an "F", bright red "F" on the cover of my term paper. I never had a grade lower than a C+ in my life! (Yes, I admit that I received a C+ for Calculus. I admit that I was never good with math.) When I finally met with the professor, he explained the reason as mentioned above. I asked him why he did not give me a chance to prove my innocence. I showed him the records from the library of the books I listed in the reference page. I was able to prove that I was the author of the report with all the draft copies I generated. The classmate did not have anything to show except the term paper. I received a "B+" for that essay and an "A" for the class.

That professor had the nerve to call me at work after the semester was over. We met for lunch and I ordered the most expensive item on the menu (to get back at him for putting me thru that horrible experience). After lunch he walked me back to my office. We shook hands and he kissed me on the cheek but never called again.

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