What would it take for you to cheat?

Last night I watched one of my friends (more like “acquaintance”) cheat to win a volleyball game. And, believe me, it’s not the first time.

Then I thought of times I’ve seen other friends cheat. In fact, cheating happens a lot in rec volleyball. The primary reason is because there are no refs. No one to keep you honest but your own conscience.

Let me make one thing clear first. This is rec volleyball. Which means, if you cheat and no one calls you out, it doesn’t mean no one noticed. And, if you cheat and someone DOES call you out. The caller-outer “cares a little too much about this game” and needs to “calm down” and “stop being an ass” (after all, it’s only for a t-shirt).

Easy ways to cheat are by making “faults” and not admitting them. Faults include: touching the net, calling a ball “out” when it was clearly “in” but you were the closest so you have the final call, double-hitting the ball, lifting, carrying, or throwing the ball, consistently being out of rotation… the list goes on. It’s pretty easy to cheat.

So back to last night. My friend was at the net across from me. I rotated around, she did not. For her own reasons, she stayed in her base position. It was obvious to me because I was watching her. For a whole game, my conscience (and let’s face it: competitive side) wanted to call her out. But I knew the results of this action: bitterness, more cheating and ultimately fighting for no reason. Is it worth it? It IS rec volleyball.

Countless times, I’ve seen my own teammates not call their own net violations, lifts, or double hits when the game got tight. I’m adamant about being honest when it comes to my own mistakes. My conscience and my actions are so close they are practically married.

So, because of that, I’ve even called some of my teammates out, which would LOSE us the point. But I don’t want to win like that. So clearly this is not about the level of volleyball we’re playing or what’s at stake. Is it? It’s about personal ethics and whether you will do the right, honest thing, when no one’s watching, even if it means losing.

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