We all play and live to win. Whether it’s screened under ‘it’s the participation that matters’ or publically paraded of your intentions to win, there is a human glue within us that want to win.
You see the tackles, you hear grunts, you anticipate sledging. The emotion, the frustration, the jubilation, they all intertwines. Sport is an extension of life in itself. That’s the beauty of it.
Whether it’s diving in Football or handling in the ruck in Rugby, Desperation to win creates havoc in the most fixated of minds. When the fear of defeat circles you, you either buckle or you resort to desperate measures. That’s human nature.
Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ won him the World Cup, Trevor Chappell’s under arm won Australia the match, Arjuna Ranatunga taking the whole Sri Lankan side out of play at a packed MCG earned Muttiah Muralitharan an illustrious career. Were they the right decisions? Probably not, but did it serve its purpose? It certainly did.
This in no way is a defence of what Steve Smith, David Warner or Cameron Bancroft conspired to do. Nor does take into account my personal view that the punishment handed out by Cricket Australia is excessive.
Rather a reflective view of an unlawful action which could have been committed by any of us thrusted up on the pressure of expectation and indignation of loss. It’s a shameful act which has to be rightly penalised. But it’s not an act that hasn’t been perpetrated before within the ropes of Cricket. The hubris constructed from this saga not just feels overboard, it is indeed axiomic.
Now granted, it was caught on tv cameras and doesn’t send a great message. However, is the impact any different to infinite attempts at ball tampering that went under the radar or wasn’t caught on camera over the years?
As sportsmen, you are supposed to be role models to the wider world. But it doesn’t change the fact that they are also human beings whose every little sneeze is heavily under the microscope. Every little failure is magnified.
Oh, it’s the Aussies. They deserve every bit of what they get. As the great REM once sang, “You have worked it out. You have seen it all.”
Wait until something important is on the line in your life. You had an avenue to bend the rules, grab the unfair advantage and ultimately win. Moral high ground is a great thing when applied on others.
Sport mirrors life in the most palpable way. People can brand others cheaters, cause havoc on social media, and judge someone for their actions until they are at the crunch themselves.
Whether it lands you at the cusp of victory or the jaws of defeat, is a different matter. It could be in varying degrees, but there is one common denominator in all of us.
You live to win, unless you are Nero playing while the Rome burnt right infront of his eyes.