France and Italy were tied in over time at the World Cup final. With just minutes to go, Zinedine Zidane, from France, head-butted Marco Materazzi, from Italy, in the chest and was ejected. France went on to lose on penalty kicks. This drama was, of course, broadcast all over the world.
If I were an Italian, I'd be demanding a "do-over". Unsportsmanlike conduct or not, there's no glory in winning by a technicality. Despite Zinedine's bad behavior, he was still named most valuable player - another dent in the World Cup - cup.
I was raised with the cliche "cheaters never win", as a kid I didn't understand the true meaning of this phrase. My friends frequently beat me at Monopoly by cheating, there were students who scored better on tests than me by cheating and my own kids considered cheating at board games part of the game. Athletes achieving amazing feats through the use of steroids were big news in my lifetime. Looked to me like cheaters not only won, but won big. It wasn't until I was older that I saw those kinds of wins are transitory things, perhaps a momentary rush, but nothing for the long term, esteem building future.
I feel the same way about most of life. A promotion gained from anything other than the quality of ones work, is an empty win. Self-publishing a book - empty win. I feel like anything gained by means other than hard work or creativity are empty gains, soul stealing little incidents that whittle away at the very heart of the perpetrator. These people who spend a lifetime cheating and stealing their way to victory... what do they see when they stand and look back at the end of their life? I hope I will see the steady succession of failures that ultimately led to my success.