• Richard Lancaster

The Cost of Winning


There is no excuse for cheating, whether it be in sport, politics or life. We, the sporting community have judged and have heaped scorn and then anger on members of our nation’s first eleven cricket team for committing the unforgivable- cheating to win.

Perhaps, however we should not be too hasty to mete out punishment before examining our own expectations more closely. If our country’s first eleven didn’t win consistently, would we continue to support them? Probably not! We would demand that the selectors replace the defaulters with better players. Better at what? Winning, of course! Win, win, win was a mantra frequently repeated in the past. Now sadly, win at all costs has replaced it!

Do we play cricket only to win? Or do we play it equally for the other benefits it gives us, like love of the sport, the social connections, exercise and the like? Sections of the media fuel this win at all costs mentality, using words like war, hate, conflict and national pride, when delivering commentary on major sporting events, relating to cricket, rugby league, even tennis and swimming.

Having played representative rugby and cricket, I treasured and still do, the exhilaration, derived from the camaraderie of my teammates and the love of the game, including its rules, even those unwritten. We won games and lost a few as well. Beaten by better players on the day. Disappointed-yes, but next week was another game and we might win it! But there was never consideration given to winning at all costs , by cheating. Why? Because there was no massive pressure on us from our fans, to win at all costs.

Unfortunately we have allowed sport to become a business, with a new set of cut throat rules, where elite players can earn millions in a year or equally with a form slump, can lose the lot. And fans, through betting, can win or lose a fortune, as well. And in so doing, we have opened the flood gates for some to ignore those rules that made their sport so enjoyable to them and to us, in the first place.

What are we teaching our future sporting heroes? That the most important rule of the game is to win at all costs and with that way of winning, comes wealth, prestige and power? I hope not!

Errors of Judgement

Apr 4, 2018 | Richard Lancaster

The now infamous ball tampering episode and previous to that numerous other match fixing occurrences, now labelled `errors of judgement` by the offenders, that the cricketing public have been recently subjected to, got me thinking.

It is now acknowledged that `winning at all costs` pervades throughout Australian sport. But why is it, that our sporting teams have this `do or die` attitude to winning? Is it that we only play sport to win? Or is there a more sinister reason that involves the money that now appears to govern sport?

Everyone now acknowledges that without money, many sports would just not exist, not in their populous profile, anyway. Elite sporting stars earn millions and most of these individuals go on to make it their chosen career paths for life. Sponsors, the media all want to be part of the success of our nation’s sporting greats. Therefore is it not logical to suggest that winning becomes paramount to a few of those elites, even if it means cheating to win?

After all, the chances of getting caught are not great, so why not take the chance! The rewards can be great with an enlarged pay packet and prestige as well. If you are unlucky enough to get caught, you will only receive a `slap on the wrist` fine, anyway.

Now if all that sounds logical, lets turn the page and look at other life pursuits in which other people endeavour to earn a crust. Under the rules of business, politics or any of the many other occupations, if you are caught cheating, whether you fess up or not, its likely you will go to prison or at the very least have a hefty fine imposed on you.

We have already acknowledged that sport conducted at an elite level constitutes a business career. So why is it that our so called elite sporting heroes caught cheating, are not treated as their business bedfellows are, by being prosecuted in the courts?


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