Yesterday I read that more than 800 athletes have reportedly recorded blood-test results “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal”. A couple of weeks back there were all sorts of accusations (false I hope) surrounding Chris Froome’s win at the Tour De France. As a cricket lover I have been dismayed that players (some I have respected for years!) have thrown games or bowled no balls for cash! Where has integrity gone? I like Ken Dunn’s definition of integrity … “Integrity, is doing the right thing when you know you will never get caught.”
Too often we resemble Grouch Marx when he quipped … “Those are my principles, if you don’t like them…… I have others.”
It seems sad to me that ‘winning’ has taken on greater significance than ‘being’ and that can’t be right! One of my favourite films is Cool Runnings starring John Candy as the coach of the Jamaican Bob Sled team. The coach, a former gold medallist for the USA was disqualified for cheating and you get the sense that he had regretted that decision for the rest of his life. Here is the advice he gave to one of his young team who was desperate to win a gold medal. ‘Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.’
With that in mind it was so refreshing to read recently of an American Golfer, Davis Love III who called a one-stroke penalty on himself during the second round of a golf tournament. He moved his marker to get it out of another player’s putting line and later he couldn’t remember if he’d moved his ball back to its original spot. Since he wasn’t certain he gave himself an extra stroke, and that one stroke caused him to miss the cut. He was eliminated from the tournament, (ironically, if he’d made the cut, even if he finished last he’d have earned $2,000 that week). At year’s end Love was $590 short in winnings to automatically qualify for the Masters and needed to win a tournament in order to get into one of golf’s most coveted events. Fortunately, the story ends well. The week before the big event he qualified by winning a tournament in New Orleans, and went on to earn $237,600 by finishing second in the Masters. Later when Love was asked how he’d have felt if he’d missed the Masters because of calling a penalty on himself, he replied, ‘The real question is how I’d have felt if I’d won and spent the rest of my life wondering if I’d cheated.’
The Apostle Paul writing to his young disciple, Titus, sums up what I believe we need to hear more often these days.
‘In everything set…an example by doing what is good…show integrity…and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned…’
It may cost you to do the right thing, but in the long run it will cost you more when you abandon your principles and do the wrong thing!