Recently, a story broke in the media concerning George O’Leary, who had just been appointed as the new football coach at the University of Notre Dame. Some untrue statements were found in his resume that forced him to resign his new position. What a tragedy!
The old-fashioned virtues of honesty and integrity are, all too often, missing today in our American society. In many cases, a man’s word is no longer his bond. It’s the day of the fine print. All of us life hitters are braced for the proverbial "curveball."
An unknown author wrote, "It is better to lose with a conscience clean than to win with a trick unfair; It is better to fail, and to know you’ve been, whatever the prize was, square. Than to claim the joy of a far-off goal and the cheer of the standers-by, and to know down deep in your inmost soul, a cheat you must live and die."
Newsweek Magazine said, "Cheating is so prevalent in U. S. schools and colleges that the cheater seems almost to be the normal college student. So widespread is the practice of cribbing that many students do not look upon it as being morally wrong. They call it, ’The Good Neighbor Policy’ or ’The Wandering Eye.’"
On the other side of the coin, it is heartening to hear stories of true integrity. I recently read the book, "All Aboard" by Bob Terrell. It is the story of Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice, the great single wing tailback for the University of North Carolina football team in the late 1940’s.
On one occasion Charlie was on the Duke University campus talking about a scholarship with their recruiters when another nearby university wanted to also come to the Duke campus to see him. Charlie said, "I will not meet with you here. Wait until I get to my sister’s house in High Point. I will meet with you there."
Later on the University of South Carolina provided Charlie with a trip to a Gator Bowl game as part of their recruitment plan. [Charlie played football in the military after he left Asheville High School.] While at this Bowl game a professional team called him and wanted to meet with him there. He told them that he was there at South Carolina’s invitation and he would not meet with them.
To me, that’s principle!
The United States Military Academy have a Cadet Prayer which is repeated every Sunday in their chapel service. It reads, "Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when the whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy."
A young man was telling his friend about a dishonest thing he had done. He said, "Of course I know that it was not exactly straight, but..." His friend remarked, "In other words it was crooked!" The man said, "Well, I wouldn’t want to call it crooked, but it wasn’t exactly straight." The friend countered, "Remember this. A line is either straight or it is crooked. If it is not exactly straight, it is crooked."