I paraphrase of course, but is all fair in business and sport? Many of us who have fallen foul of cheats would doubtless say, ‘No’!

Sporting prowess was never my leading attribute, where others took the lead I was the ‘Tail-End-Charlie’ but in endurance terms I was always still going when the others had fallen by the way-side. Accordingly, I have vast respect for athletes and other sports stars both able bodied and those less able. Having spent some time at the Sports Science Facility at Lilleshall observing sports people, some with titanium limbs, blades etc., one was profoundly impressed by their grit, determination, and good humour. I came away knowing that whatever life’s trials there is always a way to succeed, if you have the will. Clouds really do have silver linings.

Talking with athletes, and observing them, their mind-set is totally positive, some of them will be in Rio for the Olympics and Para Olympics shortly, others will be playing rugby, cricket, and soccer as professionals this year, good wishes to them all.

So, when an athlete cheats, what is that about? Greed? Some kind of mental lapse, a cultural thing, or state sponsored corruption? Probably a mix of all of these. One fails to understand what emotions pass through the person’s mind as they stand on a podium with a bunch of flowers and weeping upon hearing their National Anthem when deep down they must know that they have stolen the laurels from a true athlete? If an accolade is not truly deserved then it is worthless, but what must the emotional response be of the honest athletes who know that they have been robbed? They become more determined and keep trying, that’s what.

When the same rules are applied to business we call cheating fraud or theft. One will not name names for reasons that are obvious. However, greed beyond the dreams of avarice and the unacceptable face of capitalism are currently in the news. Here in Durham people have lost their jobs and their hard earned pensions due to dodgy dealings whilst the perpetrators sail away scot free, so far. One lives in hope. Unalloyed greed is not capitalism any more than it is socialism, it is not the ‘ism’ that is at fault but some of the people who infest the business, and the sporting, world.

Theft, greed and corruption do matter because they affect the lives of those of us who play by the rules. As humans we have choice, and the responsibility to pass on the right choices to youngsters so that when our kids run the race of life they can do so with the right values and if they play with a straight bat even if someone else is a cheat they will hold the moral high ground. If a job is worth doing it is worth doing right.

To those local folks who have lost out to cheats, our respects and hopes for better times ahead. Cheats never beats, in the end.



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