Re: Why do we cheat to compete? What is to be done? What are we to think?

Let's look at some of the motivations for cheating in its various forms.

One of them is one of the seven deadly sins: greed. Improving player stats is a great way to get a more lucrative contract, so a player may decide to cut corners. I will not deny that professional athletes work hard all their lives to enter the major leagues in whatever is their sport.  However, the idea gets into some of them that by using artificial (and often illegal) methods to attain even higher levels of performance.

One of them is the system. Part of the earliest stages of the system is Little League Baseball. To begin achievement at that level takes two things: parents who will either participate in a player's training, or will invest in someone to teach them the fundamentals of the game. Here is where the parents also can do some of the most psychological damage. If you've been to a little leage game in recent years, or read the police reports (in newspapers that actually report them), you may notice on national scale an uneasy trend of parents physically abusing umpires and coaches for game events and play calls. For children of little league age, it is unconscienceable that they have to witness such behaviour from adults. But it also gives them a notion that if things go well, parents will be happy with them. So they go to great lengths to make sure that they do well, at any cost.


By the time they reach high school, or that age group in AAU organizations, the notion of win at any cost is so ingrained that they start using all kinds of extra substances (including steriods, presumably to increase muscle mass).

Here is where a glaring difference appears between professional baseball in the US, and professional football and basketball. Have you ever noticed how few baseball players come out of college teams? More now than in the previous years of baseball, but still a relative minority. It seems that this is because once a player goes into AAU or other high school level program, if there is even a rumour of them going to college for an education, they would be dropped from the program they were already in. And don't even mention the central and south american recruiting systems that have burgeoned in the past twenty years. Can you say, right now, without looking it up, how many players from college systems were in the 2007 All Star Game (not even mentioning their names)? I can't.

In many of these minds, cheating will get you there. Once you're there, cheating will get you more. And a side question related to that last segment: how many players named in the Mitchell Report came out of college systems? I will not say with certainty, but I will hazard a guess: none.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less