The Day I Finished First

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 3.03.41 PMReading this fascinating story about cheating in an Ironman, it reminded me about the day I finished first.

As I walked up to the scorers table, I overheard the NC State Triathlon team say to each other: That was a great day, we finished 5th and 6th. But who is Wes Barry? He crushed us.

My pace picked up and my sore muscles found one last burst of energy to propel me towards the results. As I scanned the sheet from the bottom up, I came across my name at the top of the list.

I finished first! (The name above me had been DQ)

Beside my name proudly announced a time of 1:06:24.

Strangely, unlike the first name, the mats had registered times for each of my legs. So I easily could have said to the Wolfpackers, “Why you are looking at him,” stood on the podium, received my award and drove home to place my trophy on the mantel.

However, I knew the truth. So instead, I turned around and walked to the scorers’ table saying, “It looks like there was a mistake on my time. Could you please scrub my time?”

Above my son’s bed hangs a crest I created with three traits that describe what it means to be a Barry:

  • Confident Humility
  • Perseverance
  • Integrity

The ordering is intentional because Integrity is foundational. As a father, husband, coworker, son, pastor, and man as soon as my integrity has become eroded I have lost any ability to speak truth into the lives of others.  Once trust is gone it is nearly impossible to restore (without pure grace and forgiveness).

Integrity is not something that you earn, build or develop.  It is something bestowed upon you that you must maintain and preserve.  You either have it or you do not.

As I read the Times article, I wondered to myself what good is a trophy, or the accolades, or the press coverage if deep within yourself you know the truth of how they were achieved?

So how are you preserving your integrity today?

Of course, as the scorer hung the new results up, I did ask if I could keep a copy of the day 15 minutes I finished first.

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