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Maybe Set Up a Hall of Shame

Is it really just all about the money?

Baseball

I’m a big baseball fan. Or at least, I was. I grew up listening to Cardinals games on a little transistor radio before I fell asleep. Harry Caray and Jack Buck were my favorite announcers.

I played Little League for a couple of years, but I wasn’t any good. If you’re afraid of getting hit by the ball, you ain’t gonna make it. (Roberto Clemente aside.)

As I got older and the game became a contest between mostly millionaires, my interest waned. But not completely. Since the games are no longer on the network stations, I haven’t watched very many. I don’t subscribe to sports channels or any streaming services that carry them.

I’ve attended a couple of games over the years, but that was not a significant activity at any time in my life.

The Hall of Fame Vote

So, when I saw the articles here, here, and here (to name just three) about the travesty of the baseball writers not electing Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and others to the Hall of Fame, I had to shake my head.

The allegations of these and others of cheating by using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to put up ungodly numbers apparently sealed their fates. (Note: Some of the players admitted to the use of PEDs, and some have not. For those who haven’t, I consider it suspicion or allegation only.)

I am not among those who want them in the Hall. If they were suspected of cheating, I would exclude them. This suspicion would have to be founded on credible evidence, not just something made up out of thin air.

Cheating

What is the purpose of cheating? It’s to gain an unfair advantage over an opponent, or to overcome an obstacle (like a test) without putting in the hard work. Though in sports, you still have to work. In taking a test or other mental task that cheating might help, you really can skip a lot of the work.

If you win by cheating, do you really win? Can you convince yourself that you succeeded, even if it was not on your own merit?

Yes, you might get that grade, job, or higher salary. You might get praise and notoriety that you wouldn’t have otherwise. But in the end, you didn’t do it on your own.

Can you live with yourself? Can you maintain any level of self-esteem, knowing that you cheated to get what you wanted?

I’m not saying I’ve never cheated in my life. But I will say that I can’t think of any benefits that made it worthwhile.

Why do we shy away from standing on principle and calling out those who have done or are doing something wrong? And it’s not just in sports. I see it in entertainment, politics and business, too.

On Becoming Acceptable

Destructive behavior is normalized and glossed over. Sometimes it’s even promoted as normal behavior when it clearly isn’t. It may depend on the perspective of the person writing the article.

I can’t imagine the pressure to perform that professional athletes face, therefore I don’t begrudge them earning the dollars they do. In some sports, they are throwing away their bodies; they should at least be compensated for it.

But I’ve always thought, if I can’t win without cheating, then maybe it’s the wrong field. If the winners are all cheaters, I’m not sure I’d bother playing. But I don’t think that’s the norm.

As the saying goes, ‛Do your best.’ And as long as I give it my best, I am happy with the results. If the results are terrible, I analyze my performance to determine if something outside my control hurt me, or I made a mistake that I can correct, or I should rethink my purpose.

For instance, I love basketball. I played intramural basketball in grade school and college, but realized my physique was not designed for the sport. In that case I had to accept I would never succeed in it, and just enjoy shooting around or casual games.

I can think of so many reasons to excel at something, and none of them include being enshrined in a hall of fame or being recognized as the greatest.

However, I’ve come to believe that in this world, unfortunately, cheaters can prosper.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Non-Fiction, Opinion Piece, Sports

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