Project 365 – 22nd April 2010

Posted: April 22, 2010 in Project 365
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Day 81 – Storm in Melbourne

The picture above is of a blurred man crossing the street after the red man had come on, a small reminder of how we all cheat in little ways during our daily lives.

And so the second massive story of the week also comes from Melbourne. This time in the sporting field with the announcement this afternoon that the Melbourne Storm rugby league club have been stripped of their 2007 and 2009 Premierships, along with all of this season’s points and some hefty fines. It seems the club had been going to ‘elaborate’ means to get around the imposed salary cap rules which inevitably led to them being able to attract and keep good players. The Daily Telegraph editor has followed with comments that he thinks most of the NRL clubs are also flouting the salary cap rule Others that I was talking to didn’t find the notion of ‘brown paper bags’ too inconceivable, but then again they were Irish and we’re known for our liking of paper bags in the slightly faded brownish colour!

The news today seemed to suggest fraudulent dealings within the Storm. (As an aside, if you ever want a drinking game watch a copy of the Footy Show tonight and have a sip every time the say the name ‘Melbourne Storm’, You’ll be more drunk than the Camba people of Bolivia on a regular Saturday night, but thats something I will cover in a later blog!). But the fraud would suggest tax evasion also which is not just breaking sporting rules but criminal ones also. It just makes me wonder the extent to which cheating goes on in sport and how people justify it.

Someone told me once that they believed most of the Olympic athletes were on illegal performance-enhancing drugs, but they ‘had to’ to keep up with everyone else. Bull$#*t! Firstly yes, cheating will get you ahead, and if you’re not caught, it may very well bring you fame and fortune. Of course the Storm have a very different type of fame as of today. But that fame that people seek so readily has an external existence to our real needs and wants and masks our real desire, achievement. Baz Lurhmann was so right when he said ‘The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself”. How can those who cheat on that scale justify their actions to themselves, and live without knowing how they are truly represented on a level playing field. It doesn’t just apply to drugs, think of anyone who pulls an opponents jersey in a match because they’re not good enough to keep up with them, someone who dives for a penalty, Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ goal. How can they deal with their inner consciousness being a constant reminder that they are a fraud on a daily basis? Because at the end of it all we live with ourselves, and not with what people think of us, and our inner self doesn’t go away no matter how far away we think we’ve pushed it.

When I was 7 I cheated in a spelling test at school, and got caught! I must’ve been too lazy to learn my spellings and decided if I had learnt them I would know them and so it was ok to have the book open under the desk. It wasn’t. As a later teacher used love to say I was only fooling myself. I never cheated in a test after that and I was never tempted to. My school results are a testament to that (in a bad way!!) but I accepted I would never be good at anything to do with memory and focused on doing the best I could in other areas. I always think in matches it doesn’t matter whether you’re up or down by 20 points/goals, you should give an honest 100% effort at all times, it preserves the integrity of the game for everyone to give it their best shot. ‘The race is long and….it’s only with yourself”

As for Melbourne Storm, I’m glad you were found out, that the penalties were so severe and how this has become a public reminder that not playing by the rules comes back to haunt you. If there are any others out there engaging in any other cheating or bad sportsmanship practice I hope you are found out, and the punishments are as just.

Quote of the day – Brayley

In the battle that goes on through life,
I ask but a field that is fair;
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare.
If I should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high,
If I should lose, let me stand by the road
And cheer as the winners go by.


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