I was a bigger kid when I was younger, so I didn’t get bullied around very much, but I bore witness to bullying here and there. I was generally the kid who would befriend the kid who was being bullied. I just never liked to see kids who were a little different get bullied by other kids. Occasionally, I was made fun of for something or other like my clothes or my hair or my ears. I just tried to never let it get to me.
As far removed as I am from my childhood, it hasn’t changed my view of bullies. In fact, I think God’s taught me an awful lot about the need to find out the back story of someone before I really think I can understand why they are as they are and why they do what they do.
Cheaters are a different story and before I come across sounding “holier than thou” let me say that I am not without sin in this case. Although I can only count the times on one hand, there have been times when I have cheated. So, my frustration with cheaters could be a frustration at myself for those times.
But the cheating that I am talking about now pertains to sports.
In light of the recent allegations and investigations into the New England Patriots, I’m feeling incredibly conflicted. As a New England boy, I’ve rooted for the Patriots for a number of years. I haven’t been a fair-weather fan, liking them only when they play well. So, it troubles me greatly that their success might be attributed in any way at all with cheating.
Let’s face it, when you rise above others, you will have haters. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done something wrong. You may be doing everything above board and be completely above reproach and still garner your fair share of haters, but that knowledge should drive you to operate even more in zone of “above reproach.”
More and more news will be shared in the days to come about what the finding of the NFL investigation into the Patriots’ deflated balls in this past Sunday’s 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. But it’s frustrating to think that a team that you root for, YOUR team broke the rules.
No, it’s nothing new. During baseball season the headlines will inevitably break to another player using illegal substances to their advantage. Even in the world of NASCAR, there are stories of alterations to cars to make them more aerodynamically efficient in order to win. When it comes to sports, it seems that the rules were meant to be stretched, at best, and broken, at worst.
But why? Why has this become the norm?
Yes, we talk about cheating in sports here, but it extends so much further than this. When President Obama was elected and the names of his potential cabinet members were made public, conservatives everywhere were crying “foul” because of the numbers of them who had not paid taxes in years. Of course, what would have happened had those same conservatives been questioned about their own taxes.
It’s a frustrating world when everywhere you look you see cheaters. Sports. Politics. Education. Everywhere.
But we need to live differently. We need to be different. We need to be the exception to the rule. We need to live above reproach. We need to do our best to not all into the flow of the stream.
All of this news of deflated balls sours my mood towards the Super Bowl. How do I root for a team that breaks the rules? Can I, in good conscience, still root for them? Like any other kind of cheating, there’s a breach of trust that takes place. No matter how far you come from an incident, there will always be that doubt in the back of your mind that says, “They’ve done it before, are they doing it again?”
I’ve got to spend some time thinking and doing some soul-searching about this. No one’s perfect, no one is immune to the temptations of this world. But giving in to those temptations is another story all together. Right now, I can only change myself and I need to make sure that I don’t cheat. What to do with the cheaters that I’ve been rooting for is something I’ll think long and hard about.
While I get the idea of the old adage that “Cheaters never win,” it seems that the Patriots have proven that the contrary may be true.