Vince Lombardi, arguably the Packers’ greatest coach of all time, once said that “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” But I am sure that had he been asked, he would have added one important word: Fairly.
At times we see attempts to cheat in football. For example, a receiver tries to cover up the fact that he really didn’t catch the ball, or a defender acts as if he didn’t interfere with an offensive player’s opportunity to make a reception. Fortunately the replay cameras don’t lie and those individuals usually don’t get away with it. But we all bear the scars of some incredibly bad calls against the Packers (like against Seattle).
Other would-be cheaters use drugs to enhance their performance, thus camouflaging their true ability. Lance Armstrong, one of the world’s best-known cyclists, comes to mind. All of his titles were vacated and he was banned from cycling for life after his extensive doping was discovered. There also is some question about whether he used a small electric motor to give his bicycle extra juice on the tough climbs.
Recently an American Grand Master chess player admitted to cheating in previous matches. While disclosing his wrong clears up a few artificial wins he may have stolen from the true winners, it doesn’t restore his integrity, nor does it convince anyone he would never again cheat to win.
Winning when cheating is not really winning. The cheaters, both in sports and in life, are the real losers, regardless of whether their wrong is exposed.
Patrick J. Wood