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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do cheaters prosper?

It was our confirmation exam at church.
After two years of classes, it was time to prove we had what it takes to sidle up to the altar on Sundays and take communion at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church.
I do not recall how many of us were in that class filled with junior high-age kids, but I do remember being allowed to take breaks.
An hour or so into the test, my buddy, Art, and I went outside for a breather.
Safely outside and out of sight of the pastor, Art pulled a book from the pocket of his jacket. It was the same book we had been studying for two years. Not the Bible, but close enough.
He looked at me. I looked at him and shook my head. A divine presence must’ve been looking down on the both of us. After a moment, Art put the book away without opening it.
Adam and Eve were tempted. So were Art and Jim.
Sometimes the impulse to cheat is just too much. Take a look around us in the world of sports.
Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers was suspended for the rest of the season for using performance enhancing drugs.
If rumors prove true, some variation of Braun’s fate seem likely for players like Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta and Melky Cabrera of Toronto.
They have all been linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami run by Tony Bosch. It was Bosch’s former employee, Porter Fischer, who blew the whistle.
Fischer said in a recent interview on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he and associates have also identified athletes from the NBA, NCAA, professional boxing, tennis and MMA, in addition to other professional baseball players who have not yet been identified.
"In just the four years that I know, it's got to be well over a hundred, easy," Fischer said on ESPN. “It's almost scary to think about how many people have gone through (Bosch's treatments) and how long he's gotten away with this."
That’s a discomforting thought. Much more discomforting than a couple of junior high kids wrestling with their conscience outside of church.
You have to wonder how widespread cheating is, don’t you? How long and how loudly did Lance Armstrong claim his innocence before admitting that he had cheated? How about that East German women’s swim team that dominated the Olympics in 1976? Tests revealed the women were full of more additives than is in a case of hotdogs.
Cheating is not just about drugs, either. What about the Black Sox scandal? Or Mike Tyson biting off a juicy chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear? Or Rosie Ruiz taking a subway ride, hopping out and claiming she had won the Boston Marathon? Or Danny Almonte claiming to be just 12 when he pitched the Bronx team to the Little League World Series championship? Unfortunately, his birth certificate said otherwise; he was 14.
It’s not only in sports, either. The high school kid glancing at the work of his classmate. The business owner fudging his taxes. The husband who steps out on his wife, and the wife who does likewise on her husband.
Years ago, Art and I listened to our consciences. Believe me, we were not saints.
Maybe some other people should listen to their consciences, too. Saints or not.


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