Is it true that cheaters never win? Is it true that winners never cheat?
I don't know that this statement is true anymore. Unfortunately. How many former and current athletes have you heard are involved in either allegations of doping or actually admitting to doping in the last month alone?
I am not a follower of sports. But, in this great nation, where the press and television reporters are so much more interested in celebrities than real current events -- one can't help to be informed of this phenomena.
This morning they were talking on the radio about A-rod (Yankees) and the steroid allegation which he apparently denies. For the last month we have heard about Armstrong and his doping days and how his medals were stripped.
But are these two individuals losers or winners? A-Rod is rumored to be playing his last season soon. If this is it for him he walks away with world records and money up the yingyang. Armstrong has gained nothing but re-newed attention during the last several months after he had seem to fade into memory.
Both are millionaires. Both get to keep the money they made from endorsements and from their individual contracts. A-Rod...Mr. 600 or what ever home runs he has under his belts. He gets to keep that record. Until someone else beats it.
Are they really losers? Or are they the new definition of winner? Winner, "with help." Again, I don't know much about sports but from the little that I do know...apparently they get to keep all those stats and records with a little asterisk next to the record that indicates to the person that they had performance enhancement? Or something to that effect.
Wouldn't it be better if there were a rule that if you get caught doping your title and record are striped and the record reverts back to the previous holder? That would make sense. To me at least. That would deter people from holding ambitions so high that they can't reach them without the dedication and hard work necessary so they cheat.
It is sad and embarrassing. It discourages children from wanting to become a baseball, football, byciclist or simply encourages them to cheat.
Cheating in sports is not the only problem. Today, we have cheating on college admissions tests. Cheating in state exams. Cheating on civil service exams and bloating of credentials for job seekers.
We even have cheating in admissions for pre-k and kindergarten. Cheating on Gifted and Talented exams where parents with means pay thousands of dollars to prep their kids so they will score top percentile to be admitted to the city's G and T programs. All these "cheaters" take spaces in prestigious programs and get scholastic opportunities that should have gone to the persons who truly worked toward that goal and who perhaps scored less/lower because of the unfair advantage the cheater had. Institutions encourage this cheating because "over achievers" in their schools means they are a "great" institution that one should aspire to send children to.
We have become a nation of cheaters. No longer wanting to achieve through hard work. We are at the bottom of the slippery slope. We simply are either mediocre or la creme de la creme (with an asterisk).
So how do we encourage our children not to cheat? I for one have a hard time explaining these issues to my children. Why should they be honest when the person sitting next to them is getting the higher grade or getting their work done for them?
I personally saw this cheating taking place in law school. There was a student doing his final exam with cheat cards right on his lap. When he was reported by another student he was given a pass. Why? Because his father was alumni and a frequent contributor to the school. The benefits of legacy they call it. At least that was the rumor because he was not kicked out even though he was caught and he was at the top of the class. How many classes did he cheat on? What prestigious firm hired him on his credentials only to find out at the end that he was mediocre at best. Or if they didn't find out he makes them big money by carrying on with his unethical behavior. If it had been me, a first generation college graduate and professional I would have been kicked out on my rump.
That's how I explain it to my children. I tell them their integrity is worth so much more than the accolades and benefits they can gain by cheating. I make them work hard and I push them if I can. Sometimes I have to step back a little but I push them if I can. I want them to be people of honor not disgrace. And this from me, a person whose father use to use a decoy to steal hams from the supermarket in the carriage so anybody can be honest. It is a choice!
We are not saints. We are not free of sin. At some point or another everyone does something they are not proud of. The point is fighting to keep integrity is so much harder than the easy way out. But at the end it is much more rewarding.