Sunday, November 30, 2008

Integrity Still Exists

Sorry for the delay in posts, was very busy on a short week last week trying to get things accomplished before leaving for Thanksgiving weekend.

This article caught my attention as I was reading through the top news online. It is the story of JP Hayes, a former PGA regular earning his way back to the Tour by playing at Q-School. Here is a link to the article, but the summary of it is he discovered he was using a ball that was not officially recognized as legit for play, and because of that he disqualified himself from the competition.

Golf is a funny game, if nothing else for the fact that guys in goofy pants (i.e. Payne Stewart) hit a small ball a long way on nice grass and then try to get the small ball into a small hole. It really is a fun game to play, even when you're lucky to hit it once on the fairway in an entire round (my game). It is often said golf is a good walk spoiled, but it is a very relaxing game, fun to play with a small group of friends allowing for a lot of fellowship and conversation. It is also a gentleman's game, where players are responsible for policing themselves and enforcing the rules of the game on themselves (and now you know why your uncle Larry shoots a 70 average).

What Hayes did is significant not because he recognized that he cheated, I think most cheats do and know exactly what they are doing. Hayes had the real choice of not reporting it, finishing high enough to earn his Tour card and return to a good life on the PGA, or to report it and thus disqualify himself from more prestigious events and probably cost him thousands in earnings from tournaments. What he did was in respect for the game and what it stands for.

Thank you JP, for showing us that integrity and professional sports can still be used in the same sentence. In a day of Congressional denials about steroids, Spygate, etc., it is refreshing to know that there are some out there with enough respect for the game to play by the rules, even when no one is watching. I encourage our students often to have integrity in what they do, that character is who they are when no one is watching, and that in the little things is where you are able to most glorify God.

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