Integrity in Sports

I’ve had a humbling winter. In order to make some good money I have caddied part time at an exclusive golf club in southwest Florida. I’ve played in US Opens and countless golf tournaments. I’ve been caddying for affluent men and women from all over the world. Their golf handicaps range from scratch to 30. I’ve really enjoyed helping them enjoy their rounds of golf. As a caddy your job is to get them yardages, clean their clubs and balls and help them on the greens. I also enjoy giving them some simple keys that will help them play the game a little better and hopefully enjoy the day a little more.

An interesting drama ensued during a recent tournament. Golf is a gentleman’s game and the rules are adhered to by honor. Golfers call penalties on themselves which protects the field and upholds the integrity integral to the game. There was a buzz about a certain player cheating. The caddies were talking about it; some members and guests knew of it yet no one would confront the golfer. It led me to write this post and consider the integrity in sports. If you are willing to cheat in your sport where else are you willing to cheat? What type of person are you to cheat at a game where you are expected to be honest? Golf is such a great sport because it will reveal your character. How you behave after you hit a bad shot and what you do when no one is looking tells a lot about the individual.

I’ve been fortunate to grow up playing golf and learning the rules on how you play the game. It has been a great teacher in all walks of life. I believe in Karma and the Bible’s saying you reap what you sow. At the end of the day if you cheat it will catch up with you.

If you have children or the opportunity to mentor young people, one of the greatest gifts you can give them is the value of integrity. Teach them to work hard, be confident, and have a positive attitude and most important play the game with honest intentions. Sports are a great teacher for life. The strong survive and thrive. If our youth can learn to be honest and display a strong character the world will be a better place.