Lust for Conquest
By Robert Bagalay
Certainly, nobody wants to lose if there is a sure way of winning. There is no glory in losing, and so, everyone wants to win even though they know that their victories could later turn into ignominies that would haunt them all their life. Those who cannot win the game in an honest way usually resort to cheating and lying to lay hold of the crown that belongs to someone else. They take the glory and honor they are not worthy of, hoping that the accolades that would be showered to them and the perks that goes with their fake victory would buy them some happiness that would fill the emptiness in their heart. But in such stolen victories, celebrations are only make-believe, for in the corner of their mind, a small voice keeps reminding them that they have actually lost.
When the people behind the elementary football team of Puerto Princesa decided to send to the Mimaropa Meet over-aged athletes using the birth certificates of younger pupils, they only had one thing in mind: to win. But it was a Faustian bargain; the medals were gained at the expense of the city’s dignity and the players’ morality. People involved in the anomaly claimed that what they did is not new in the school sporting meets and as a matter of fact, most delegations are engaged in the dirty business, implying that if a team would play honestly, it would never win. Such justification is not surprising anymore in this age of raging moral corruption and ethical perversion. Indeed, those who remain upright in these evil days find that the world is moving against them, pushing them back to forsaken, narrow corners for their final stand.
But with most of us still calling for moral order in our society, such an act of dishonesty is still far from being acceptable even it is already the “norm” in athletic competitions, especially when the culprits are the people who should be the role model of the youth. Teachers should be the last persons to cheat and lie; for if they would be the first, they would be raising an entire nation of cheaters and liars. Teachers who fly in rage after finding their students cheating during exams but authorize, or worse, carry out the cheating in the athletic competitions are worse than public officials who steal the public’s money. The public officials’ crimes result only to public projects that deteriorate months after their construction, but the teacher’s crime shatters the moral foundation of the students, perverts their values and corrupts their character—almost tantamount to waylaying them into moral pitfalls.
It is unfortunate that while DepEd officials and teachers showed great interest in the success of the city delegation in the regional meet (triggered perhaps by the cash incentives), they failed to realize that such dishonesty, done for the sake of the title and medals, incurred great cost beyond what they could imagine. It was a Pyrrhic victory, a conquest that entailed terrible costs on the victors—wounds that cut deep into the hearts of the offended pupils, stains that will stick forever to the names of the persons involved in the scandal, lost respect that cannot be restored again.
The kind of victory that education officials must endeavor to achieve is the victory over the temptation to match with the same fraudulent practices, the fraudulent practices of other delegations. It gathers no accolades and cash incentives, but surely, it brings peace of mind and a clear conscience.
It is the kind of victory that will make God smile and the angels blow their trumpets in jubilation.
Editorial published in the June 26-July2, 2006 issue of Bandillo ng Palawan