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{25/05/2012}   Cheating

     Through work yesterday, I learnt about performance enhancing drugs used by athletes/sports people.  I was shocked, in part at the apparent prevalence of drug use, but mainly at the amount of drugs you potentially need to take to counter side effects; side effects which include men developing breasts.  I really don’t get it beyond the obvious drive to win and excel at your sport.  Surely a chemical (often intravenous) in your blood stream counts as cheating.  Well it officially does, but people still do it.

     If I were to play word association with “cheating”, I would say “school”.  I remember playing board games at junior school, aged c11, and realising that one girl in my class in particular was blatantly cheating.  It made me angry.  It still makes me angry when people cheat.  I want it only to be children who cheat, that it’s something you realise is pathetic and spoils games and social interaction, but unfortunately it does spread into adult life.  I have, and probably still, cheated, but as far as planning to cheat goes I can only think of little things that affect me that have no bearing on other people.  Or so I perceive.

I suppose part of the issue with performance enhancing drugs is that if you know “everybody” else is doing it, you think the only way you can win is by adopting the “if you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy.  How scary is that when you think of the ripple effect?  It’s a huge, huge disappointment when you discover athletes you admire are winning because of chemicals.  Sadly, it detracts from the fact they were good, exceptional, to have ever got to professional athlete status.

Likewise, it’s a huge disappointment to discover you have friends who cheat at games.  I am not saying this because I have any friends that I think cheat but because I remember that horrible feeling of being aware that someone you’re playing a game with is cheating.  I’m on the cusp of repeating myself but childhood memories of cheating really do linger with a bitter taste.  A few years ago, I played a board game with some children who were blatantly cheating.  I had to excuse myself because it was making me inner angry; at least children don’t try to hide it in the way an adult would, and that’s because by adulthood you should know it’s wrong and not in the spirit of games, friendship and respect.

As is often the case with my ramblings, I am failing to find a point other than emphasising that cheating is very annoying and shouldn’t be done.  If you want to recover faster, have better endurance, bigger muscles and/or more rage (seriously – boxing) so you can improve your results, is that any different to, say, secreting a winning card, taking more toy money than you should, positioning yourself so you can see your opponent’s hand …  is the victory as sweet and deserving if you get away with it?  Does it make you feel good about yourself, confident that was a deserved victory?  And all that is assuming that cheating actually means you win; it’s not a given.

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