Posts Tagged ‘cheating

12
Oct
12

A Lance Through the Heart? Not Mine…

Maybe it’s time to abandon the idea of competitive sports in which you rely 100% on your natural body, exercise, nutrition and practice. Maybe it’s time to stop looking for the cheaters who use performance-enhancing measures beyond the ones I just mentioned.

If there’s any legacy that cyclist Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall has left me with, that’s it.

Let’s stop worrying about who’s taking what and get down to the real problems of sports. Better yet, let’s get down the real problems of society and push sports more into the background.

On Twitter today, I saw a link posted by movie critic Roger Ebert to a New York Times article that described how Lance Armstrong was able to get away with things like blood doping and thwart the testing procedures that would have revealed he was doping for so many years.

The revelations in that article didn’t make me lose any respect for Lance Armstrong; granted, I haven’t gained any either. For at least a dozen years now, I haven’t made any habit of putting my loyalties behind specific cities, teams or individual athletes.

My take-away lesson from the article about Lance Armstrong’s blood doping is not that he’s a bad guy. What I came away with is this: Apparently, these activities are rampant in the cycling world, as they are in so many sports, and the problem is that measures to police use of performance enhancers don’t work.

So, tons of people are taking substances they aren’t supposed to, and competing, and not getting caught. It’s just that Lance Armstrong was such a consistent winner and jealousies came to bear that he has been singled out. Clearly, many of his competitors have cheated, too, but the spotlight is on him now, and they continue on with their activities.

Many people are outraged by the idea of Lance Armstrong winning and having done blood doping. But I look at it this way: His competitors were, by and large, doing the same thing, and he was still beating them.

Doesn’t that still make him the better athlete, when so many strong cyclists also using performance enhancers still can’t beat him?

You can talk about the cyclists who have played it straight and get screwed over by all the cheaters, and you’d have a strong point, but my concern is singling out a specific person as the villain when he isn’t the lone offender. Also, demeaning his athletic abilities and work because he doped his blood. I mean, it’s not as if he took a pill that magically made him a good cyclist. He still had to work out, sweat, push, endure pain and injury, eat properly and employ racing skills in order to win. Did he have an edge? Yes. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t work hard.

Cheating is not the same in all circumstances. Now, in sports if you bribe judges or referees to ensure that you win, that is somewhat comparable to stealing the answers to a test and memorizing them. You have chosen to slack off considerably or perhaps do no work at all to ensure you win or get a good grade. You have taken the effort largely out of the equation. Those who use performance enhancers still have to work hard and compete, and sometimes their choice to give themselves an edge results in health problems later.

Now, from a moral standpoint, I think what Lance Armstrong did was wrong. It’s just that I don’t think it gave him so much of an edge it made him unbeatable.

Also, let’s consider the “why” of all this. He did it because we have put such a high premium on professional athletics and celebrity. We have made the rewards so great because of our misplaced priorities that people are driven to win at any cost, because it’s how they will make it big and get the long cash. We created the problem—all of us: owners, promoters, media, fans, etc.—and we have compounded it by making governing bodies that do a shit-ass job of policing athletes.

I would love if everyone competed on a level field, with no drugs or other enhancers involved. But hasn’t it become clear to us by now that the use of substances by athletes is a pervasive and all-too-common activity? Do we benefit by singling out one or a few just to send a message that still won’t be heeded? Sending a message to drug users by jailing people for stupid crap like possession of marijuana certainly hasn’t helped anyone but people who construct and operate prisons, so why would taking down a doping athlete make any difference?

Better would be to stop making sports such a high priority. If we stopped funneling so much money into sports that could be better used for things like charitable causes, research and development and things like that, athletes won’t be so driven to cheat with drugs.

We all cheat in life, at various levels and in various ways. We all use tricks to get ahead at times.

But it’s only when the prize for which we are shooting has been made so enticing that we through caution to the wind and cheat massively and disastrously.

That’s why Wall Street and the finance industry failed us and crashed the economy recently. That’s why a lot of angry and scared politicians right now fling out blatant lies with no shame these days.  That’s why Lance Armstrong and every other athlete caught for use of performance-enhancing drugs did what they did.

Because we’ve made the rewards to them so valuable.

14
Aug
08

Your Cheating Heart

Lord, we do love us some drama around a politician boning someone other than his wife, don’t we?

John Edwards became the latest perpetrator-slash-victim in this wonderful cycle, and folks are spouting off all over the place about how terrible it is what he did to his wife, Elizabeth and how it shows his complete lack of moral character and damn aren’t we lucky he didn’t get the Democratic nod because either (a) he’d lose to McCain for the infidelity [if of course we were to ignore that McCain left his disabled wife for a younger, and rich, woman] or (b) we’d have a philanderer in the Oval Office!

Oh, my God! A politician who sleeps around. Stop the presses!

There have been saner heads in the world of commentating and blogging that have pointed out the fact that fidelity is hardly a necessity for being a good politician and that holding politicians to a higher moral standard than other professions doesn’t make much sense. But there still a lot of venom being sloshed into Edwards’ face, from men and women alike. In in my humble opinion, though, we’ve given the country over to greedy, selfish, heartless folks for eight years. Is fucking someone other than your wife really so much worse than fucking people over?

Look, before I go any farther, let me be clear that I don’t support adultery. I have never desired to cheat on my wife and I hope I never do. And I didn’t like what John Edwards did in terms of cheating; it is disappointing. But there are a few reasons I realized that I don’t have a right to get all judgmental and self-righteous about what he did.

First off, unlike Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer and some other notable randy politicians in recent years, there is no indication that what Edwards did was some habitual thing. So far, it looks more like an isolated event.

Second of all, Elizabeth isn’t throwing her husband to the wolves but keeping his back, and it’s not my place to be outraged on her behalf if she’s coming to grips with it. Hell, Mrs. Blue and a former social worker she knows (also female) were discussing that with the breast cancer troubles Elizabeth Edwards has been going through, she may not want to have sex and may feel like less than a woman; apparently, this is not uncommon among those fighting breast cancer. They’ve gone so far as to theorize that she may have encouraged her husband to get his business taken care of by someone else. These are woman talking, not me. Such a thing wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as a theory. But it is entirely plausible. We just don’t know.

Finally, though, I am reminded of what Jesus said when the mob dragged before him a woman they had caught in the act of adultery and saying she be stoned to death according to Jewish law and asking what Jesus thought, to try to trip him up and show that he didn’t care about the law. Instead, he said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (This is all in John 8:3-11, by the way)

Most of us are familiar with that line and that story, and how it tells us that none of us are without stain or sin and none but God can truly judge and condemn anyone fairly and honestly.

But there is another element to it as well. Recall that the mob didn’t bring the man who had been committing adultery with this woman. They let him go free. Also, in the story, you might recall that before Jesus uttered his famous line, he was drawing in the sand with a stick. My father-in-law, in more than one sermon, has theorized that he was drawing words, perhaps something like, “So, where the heck is the man?” Because to my father-in-law, that is probably the only thing that would have truly made everyone disperse; throwing it in their faces that they only wanted to punish half of the adulterous couple.

True, there is a gender reversal when we look at the Bible story, where the woman gets dragged out, and with John Edwards, where the man is the one who gets the spotlight. But I think there is a parallel in that we always want to point fingers, usually at just one of the people, and then declare that a single act or a certain mistake can permanently make someone unworthy or somehow erases all the good they’ve done in the past. And for some reason, we chose adultery as some special way to do this, as if it’s so much worse than lying or greediness or pettiness or lack of general human compassion, things we have overlooked in politicians on both sides of the aisle on a regular basis.

None of us is without sin. All of us can commit the same mistake of adultery (or murder or theft or whatever) as quickly as anyone in the public that we want to vilify. All that is needed are the right circumstances.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t pay a price for deliberate harm they commit or stupid mistakes they make. I’m not even saying we don’t have a right to wonder about them when we do.

But we don’t have a right to judge a person’s entire worth based on a few unflattering snapshots from their life.

25
Jul
08

Mrs. Blue’s 7th Commandment Hot List

All right, in my Women I’d Break the 7thCommandment With post from a couple days ago, the women have chimed in with some of their thoughts, both male and female, and WNG for one has rightly pointed out the eroticultural (patent pending) discrepancy that exists in having those 10 women and my lustful ramblings about them, along with some lovely little shots of them—and yet nothing to represent for Mrs. Blue’s libido and, by extension, the fantasies of my female readers.

As I noted in the other post, Mrs. Blue just doesn’t have the same level of the celebrity lust thing that most of us do, and her list is, therefore, far too small to get to ten. However, because I am a creative sort who finds all sorts of ways to get around his wife’s lack of time to guest-post here, I am going to present to you her top five “menzes” that she’d step out on me for, the three that she has already mentioned and two more that I am twisting her arm to generate. Then I’ll provide my top five suggestions for men I would, regrettably, also allow her to sin with if she had the chance. Hopefully, she’d come back to me after sowing her oats, but she’s made it pretty clear that a couple of the guys in her picks could push me out of the picture entirely.

(Yes, I’ve clearly been on a more sex-oriented kick this week and less of the pseudo-scholarly ramblings. Even my other post that I’ll be doing later tonight has sexual overtones, though from a more moralistic standpoint.)

Mrs. Blue’s Picks

Benicio del Toro

Even Mrs. Blue admits he’s not a classic “looker,” but she digs his deep thoughts. I think that it would be hard for him to steal my wife away entirely because, based on the interviews I’ve read featuring him, he’s almost too deep. The only real-life man who ever posed a real threat to me winning Mrs. Blue’s heart suffered from similar “too-deepness.” Sometimes, having too much intellect is just too much pressure for the other person unless he or she is an academician. But even beyond Benicio’s mental sexiness, I admit that I can see something in his eyes that would draw women in: The brooding, almost melancholy smouldering look that almost seems sleepy but also somehow says, “I want you, and I can have you, and you know it. Come to me now.”

Terrence Howard

Not a man who is necessarily “classically” handsome in that chiseled beefcake style or perfect facial features, but someone who just has a package that exudes masculine sensuality. There is something of the stalker in him, and I don’t mean the creepy “I’m outside your window looking at you” kind but the type of man who might prowl through a nightclub, capturing the eyes of most of the women, the hearts of those he actually engages in conversation or dance, and the actual time of one or more of them back at his place. My wife freely jests that he seems to do a little too well in film roles that have him as a man who might (or does) smack a woman across the face from time to time. But we all know that dangerous-seeming men and women have their own allure. And I have faith Mrs. Blue could block any backhand attempt or return it in kind.

Rick Fox

I don’t know if my wife had a thing for this guy before we rented Meet the Browns a week or two ago, but she made it abundantly clear to me while watching him steam it up with Angela Bassett (who made my top 10 list of women, by the way, if you don’t recall) that I could kiss our marriage goodbye if he declared amorous intentions toward her. He’s a handsome man, I’ll grant that, but my son says he looks “kind of goofy,” so I find myself wondering if it’s really his looks that got my wife steamed up. Or is it his voice (she’s a sucker for aural stimulation) and the way he so deftly projects a vibe that exhibits masculinity and sensitivity?

Roger Guenveur Smith

My wife still calls this guy “Mr. Monroe” and I don’t remember in which movie he played a character with that name, but she reminded me years ago when we were watching Get On the Bus (in which he played the character Gary) that he was one fine piece of man and that I should despair for our marriage if he ever called her up. I could give Mrs. Blue all sorts of hell for digging an actor so much while still not knowing his name, but then again, if she got him alone in a room, she’d probably make him forget his own name.

Morris Chestnut

OK, this guy isn’t actually my wife’s pick, but that of Hawa, who authors the blog Fackin Truth. She had thrown his name out there as a male sexpot, and since my wife couldn’t come up with a fifth, we’ll just go with Hawa on this one. I approve of him if for no other reason than he’s bald (like me) and rocks a goatee (as I do about half the year; full beard the other half of the time). Got his start in Boyz n the Hood, a fine movie if I do say so, and apparently he’s an excellent Texas hold em player. My wife always did harbor dreams of becoming a pro gambler (or a bounty hunter)…

My Picks

George Clooney

Look, first of all, my wife’s list is short on racial diversity based on personal preferences (I’m an exception to her normal predilections), so I have to balance things out a bit for my racially mixed readership. Also, George Clooney is consistently voted as, and widely considered to be, one of the sexiest guys around, and he’s young enough for me to still consider him acceptable for my wife (otherwise, it might have been Sean Connery in this slot instead). I know that it’s become such a truism that George is suave, self-assured, accessible, friendly, cool and good-looking that it’s almost a cliché now. But still, he is a man that is so cool that even if he stole my wife, I might be willing to be drinking buddies with him afterward.

Kurt Elling

Another white guy, but Kurt Elling transcends race in many ways. He’s soulful, he’s one of the most talented jazz vocalists alive, and he earns the respect of not just white folks but also many black artists in jazz—and in hip-hop and R&B (even crusty underground rapper M.F. Doom listed him as one of only maybe 5 or 6 musical artists that he didn’t consider “whack”). This is a man I’d choose for my wife because of sheer talent and seeming emotional depth, and not because of looks. Because, while he ain’t ugly by any stretch, he isn’t exactly going to be on any beefcake-style posters either.

Common

This is actually my son’s pick. Mrs. Blue doesn’t feel any particular tingle for the guy, but she has admitted to our son that he’s a handsome guy, and he does have both musical talent and some potential acting talent. So, like with my inclusion of Scarlett Johanssen in my list based on my son’s taste, I’ll do the same with Common here. He’s got a listtle activist in him, and that is something that appeals to Mrs. Blue’s sensibilities, and he’s stayed true to Trinity United Church of Christ, of which he is a member last I heard, even after the media brouhaha over Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright that prompted Barack Obama to jump ship. That’s one thing that Mrs. Blue still hasn’t really forgiven Obama for, though she’s still going to vote for him.

Laurence Fishburne

I had briefly considered putting Denzel Washington on this list, but according to my son, the man done “plumped up a bit.” Not that such a thing would be unheard of in Hollywood for an upcoming role, but I don’t know. My wife just spent two years getting off excess maternity weight and adopting a pretty healthy lifestyle, and Denzel can be kind of stiff anyway sometimes, so despite being handsome and talented, I have to nix him. But Laurence Fishburne has always struck me as “Denzel-like” in terms of being serious, having great talent and seeming to be thoughtful and intelligent as well. He isn’t as handsome as Denzel is (or was, if my son’s dispersions are correct), but he’s still good looking. So, he makes my personal “final five” for Mrs. Blue.

Christian Bale

Look, I’m still trying to keep the races somewhat balanced here. Would have loved to add an Asian man for good measure, but I can’t think of a single celebrity of Asian descent that would remotely mesh with my wife. And I’m not coming up with too many Latino hunks that I think would either; we’ll have to leave it with Benicio del Toro for that. So, another white guy to finish out the list. Christian Bale is classically good looking, is currently sporting a very nice-looking physique in The Dark Knight (and did in Batman Begins, too), and he is a great talent. Moreover, he owns both the Bruce Wayne and Batman sides of his role. My son and I are big Batman fans, and so the next best thing to putting Batman on the list is putting Christian on it (and since I picked a Batman-related character in my list of hotties—Catwoman—it seems like nice corollary to have a Batman-related celebrity in Mrs. Blue’s list).

12
Mar
08

Stepping out

kiss01.jpgI swear I’m not on a sex kick to drive traffic to this blog. Really. Well, mostly really. But it is true that my motives for today’s post are innocent…as innocent as is possible when talking about sex to begin with, at least. Truth is, I’m in the middle of a lot of project work right now and don’t have much time, so I need a topic I can clear up quickly and easily.

So, here it is: Is it ever OK to step out on your spouse for a little intimate sport?

I don’t think it will be much of a surprise to anyone whose reads this blog that I’m not cool with adultery. Hell, I don’t advocate premartial sex, despite the fact almost everyone does it and I pretty much expect everyone, even the born-again Christians, will continue to do it in large numbers.

“But,” you ask, “what if my spouse says it’s OK?”

Sorry, Charlie, still won’t work. I know there are many spouses of both genders who are open-minded enough to actually be down with the idea of letting their significant other have a night (or morning, or lunchbreak) off with someone who can provide them with that new sex smell. And with permission in place, and the “marriage bed” being undefiled as long as both spouses are in agreement, you’d think this might be safe territory. You can’t cheat if you have permission, right?

But you forget about the other part of the equation: fornication (insert dramatic, semi-spooky music here). You would be having sex with someone whom you aren’t married to, thus doing nothing more than gratifying your lust instead of using sex in a loving and bonding manner. You would be fornicating and you would be encouraging that person to fornicate, and that still puts you in sin territory. Deliberate sin. Not the best idea. We’re supposed to shun sin, not look for new, more interesting ways to commit it and somehow slip in (or slip into someone) on a technicality.

I’m sorry to tell y’all that, especially the guys who were really looking for a loophole. Lord knows, I’m weak-willed enough that I certainly hope to find loopholes in the Bible, too, a lot of the time. But this falls into the same category of why I mention in my Between the Sheets post that threesomes and bigger groupings are still wrong, no matter how you try to slice it. Sex just isn’t meant to be a sporting activity; it’s meant to be something much deeper and much more intimate than that.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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