Right Or Not Right?

Do you ever struggle to know what’s right? (I see you nodding.)

This video made the rounds on the Internet this week. If you haven’t seen it, take twenty-seven seconds to watch. (If you can’t see the video, click here.)

If you’re not a football fan, the kid figured out a way to trick the opponents and walk unopposed through the line. Pretty funny, right?

This silly video sparked a surprising amount of commentary.

Depending on perspective, it’s either a model of inspired resourcefulness or evidence of the impending decline of civilization.

Some folks see a shining example of “outside-the-box” thinking and clever, creative problem-solving. It’s an illustration of the benefits of seeking unconventional approaches to common situations, the sort of ingenuity we should applaud, reward, and seek to emulate.

Others perceive a shocking model of poor sportsmanship. By encouraging trickery and deception, the coach sets a deplorable example. His impressionable young players learn dishonesty, immorality, and a lack of integrity.

Seriously?

IT’S A GAME—a kids’ game. Nobody died or got injured or went to jail. The player apparently didn’t break any rule. He (or more likely his coach) devised an unconventional trick that caught everyone by surprise and provided some laughs and a one-time success. I doubt that anyone learned much other than games are supposed to be fun and it’s okay not to take them so seriously.

In a game there’s a huge distinction between deception (exploiting the rules) and cheating (intentionally breaking the rules). Deception within the rules is an acceptable strategy.

A game is an artificial environment defined by rules. If you choose to participate, you follow the rules or accept the prescribed penalty—or you cheat. Without its rules the game can’t exist. It wouldn’t make much sense to play basketball or Monopoly if everyone insisted on making up their own rules.

In a game, the rules define right and not-right. But I think we tend to lose sight of an important reality:

Life isn’t a game.

Next week I want to look at rules, games, and life. For today, I encourage you to consider that sometimes games are just games—no life-or-death consequences, no eternal lessons.

Games.  Fun.  Enjoy.  Sometimes that’s enough.

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