Gaming the Rules

Gamingthe RulesTo some competitors, finding a loophole in a set of rules, I suppose, is a way to gain an advantage. Who can blame a competitor for wanting to find an edge? When it borders on cheating or pushes the envelope so far that the integrity and fun is sucked out of the competition it becomes a very real problem. That’s when rule changes are made. New rules created to counteract loopholes irk those that think they’ve found an ingenious way of doing something to win, outside of what the competition is designed for. Competitions are designed to stretch and challenge skills and show the nail world which competitor is the best. Spending a lot of time trying to find loopholes to make winning competitions easier, in my educated opinion, is a waste of time. The real, truly rewarding win comes when the competitor spends that extra time practicing and perfecting their skills, resulting in a win, without loopholes. That’s not to say that there aren’t times when a competitor does not even realize they are pushing the envelope because they interpret the rules differently or perhaps they didn’t read or understand the rules in the first place. Interpretation of the rules can be a little sticky as in the case of Design Sculpture. This competition is called Design Sculpture because the design is to be sculpted rather than hand painted and then encased in acrylic. Some may argue however, that hand painting is creating the design and the encasing of it is sculpting. See what I mean?

True loophole finding is time consuming and annoying to judges because we can’t just get in there and judge. We not only have to look at the nails according our categories but also have to check to make sure no one is breaking the rules. It is always better if we can just judge and not have to continually recall the rules, scrutinizing to make sure that someone has not broken a rule, only found a loophole. Let’s face it, why would anyone want to annoy the person judging his or her work? Judges and competition staff really appreciate competitors that practice and compete within the rules. Loophole finding does nothing but stir up controversy. The other “clean” competitors get ticked off when they follow the rules and occasionally get beat by someone that took the easy road and got away with it only because “it doesn’t say that you can’t do it in the rules”. And the vicious cycle begins again. More loopholes, more rules.

Rules are made so competitors will have to work harder to show their talents. If it is easy, then the integrity is washed out of the competition. For instance, white tips were allowed in competition for a long time. What happens when you remove the white tips? It makes it more difficult but it also brings the competitors with true talent and work hard through practice to the surface. Making sharp, even, bright smile lines or creating a design out of acrylic along with all the other things necessary to win is hard. What would be the purpose of putting on a competition that’s easy? Winning a competition through dedication and hard work is so much more satisfying to savor than taking the easy road.

—Carla Collier, NAILPRO Competition Head Judge

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