In 1988 I was racing in the Reston triathlon in Washington, DC. Swimming was my weakest leg and I was stroking along breathing only to the left keeping the marker line in sight. Suddenly I saw a body go limp and sink. Or at least I thought I did. The water was murky and I immediately lost sight of whatever I thought I saw. I stopped and dove down a couple of times and saw nothing. I looked over at the safety teams and realized if I shouted out that the race would come to a halt for 500 people. I thought, “if someone was in trouble they would be flailing.” I dove down again and decided I had seen a reflection or something. So I pressed on. And I had a tremendous race. And I crossed the line proud that my girlfriend and brother, visiting from England, were there to watch me kick butt. But as my brother congratulated me he said, “they have divers in the lake – someone did not come out.” I have crushingly revisited that day so many, many times. Wondered if Curtis Silvey died to protect my potential embarrassment. I have no idea if that young man who had a seizure and drowned could have been saved if I had screamed for help. I never will. But as I often tell students in my lectures: by and large in life you will regret the things you don’t do far more than those you do.
I think of this when I think about bullying. The scars of bullying can last a lifetime. Let’s not have our kids live a life affected by bullying when we can do something about it. I am proud of the work the IE team has done and continues to do in this arena. And I just ask of all of us: if you see it in the schoolyard… or in your office, or on the street, stand tall and let your voice be heard. Silence can be a hard weight to carry — for all involved.