Charlie's Blog: The Rigged Game


The Rigged Game

A winner is a cheater that never got caught.

Lance Armstrong is the number one reason why I do not watch sports. I knew Armstrong was dirty before his confession to Oprah Winfrey, and I came to accept the fact that cycling and virtually all professional sports are tainted by performance enhancing drugs. I also accepted the fact that you had to cheat in order to win. You can lose clean or win dirty, but you will never win clean. The really sad thing is that I don't consider this to be confined to the world of sports. I think the entire world is a rigged game.

I don't think it is possible to become wealthy, successful, or powerful without doing something illegal or immoral. I base this on the ubiquity of the illegality and immorality among the rich and powerful. Even the best and the cleanest are compromised in at least looking the other way while dirty things go down. The consequence of this is that good people have no chance in these worlds. This is why the next presidential election will give us two candidates that we know are corrupt, and who will break their promises upon election.

The world of business is no better than the world of politics. Virtually every business pays off the politicians in one form or another in order to operate. This could be campaign contributions, cash, or favors. They also take advantage of their workers to force their wages down, or they outsource their operation to a country that uses virtual slavery and destroys their environment all while paying no taxes. If it is illegal here, you can always find a place where it is legal. As for Wall Street, most market beaters are either manipulating the market or trading on inside information. The best an honest man can do is open a modest hot dog stand and hope the big restaurants in town don't go and lobby the city council with money in hand to shut that little guy down.

These facts are depressing. Life offers you two basic choices. You can be an honest loser, or you can be a dirty winner. You can't be a clean winner. This is why Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and virtually all the saints were a bunch of nobodies during their lives. To be a somebody in this life is almost always going to come at the price of your soul. This is essentially the temptation Satan put before our Lord in the desert. The devil will give you everything in this world if you will just bow down and worship him.

If there is a bright side to any of this, it is this. If you aren't successful in life, it isn't because you did something wrong. It is more likely because you wouldn't do something wrong. Lance Armstrong candidly admitted that he would do it the same way all over again. This is because he knows what I know which is that you can't win clean. In order to win, you have to cheat and hope you don't get caught. For Lance, he was a winner until he got caught. Now, he is a loser and a disgrace. One can only hope that he finds redemption in his life.

So, where does that leave us? What do you tell your kids? That life isn't fair? Yes. You tell them that. You tell them that it is a rigged game, and they are born losers. Don't tell them the fairytale that if they live clean and play by the rules that things will turn out well for them. They won't. The best you can hope for in this life is a good name and a modest living. To wish for more is to call on the Devil and sell your soul.

People want to feed their pride. This is why they want to become rich, powerful, and successful. They want glory just like some hero from myth and legend. They will claim they want security, but these people are never secure. They live every day with the fear of being exposed for what they really are. Where is Lance Armstrong's glory now? Was it worth it? At this point, the man will be fortunate to avoid being penniless and incarcerated.

The interesting thing is how the players in the game all abandon you when your digrace comes. The UCI abandoned Lance and keep him at arm's length now. Lance's sponsors loved him but dropped him like a tainted sack of manure. Lance can't complain because this is basically what he did to Floyd Landis when Landis was disgraced. To live in this dirty world is to surround yourself with false friends and betrayers. Yet, they are all in on the conspiracy. Everybody loves a winner until they get caught.

These are the lessons you teach to your kids. It is better to be good than to be successful. It is better to be humble than to be proud. It is better to make an honest living than a dishonest living. It is better to be a saint than a false hero. This is why it is important to venerate the saints and tell their stories. The world offers its various heroes, but I find nothing to admire in them now. They are merely so many cheaters waiting to get caught.