By now, even the most uninformed individual in the world of football is aware of the DeflateGate controversy that’s swirling around the NFL right now. Despite being only one week away from the Super Bowl, it seems as though the world can’t stop talking about whether or not Tom Brady, Bill Belichick or anyone else within the New England Patriot’s organization purposely deflatedtheir footballs in order to gain a competitive advantage during their 43-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC Championship.
Like I said before, practically everyone and their great grandma have some kind of opinion of this scandal. Saturday Night Live did a hilariousskit about it. Even Bill Nye the Science Guy has stepped out of the laboratory and into the arena to weigh in on the situation (for the record: he thinks they’re full of crap).
Despite what side of the fence you were on, one thing that everyone can agree on is that the Patriots would have defeated them easily, regardless of any type of “advantage”, perceived or otherwise. Despite that fact however, that’s not what matters. If it turns out that the Pats were guilty of trying to gain an edge, you can’t just shrug that off just because they were ultimately the better team (sorry, Pats fans).
Being only 5 years old, my son has no clue about deflategate or any other scandal that might be going on in the world of sports right now. He does however, know all about Candyland. And Yahtzee. And Sorry. While playing those games, there have been moments where he’s attempted to cheat his way through a game if he thinks that he’s losing. Whenever I catch him attempting to slyly switch a card, or suddenly advance his game piece further, I don’t get upset. I try to use those moments as an opportunity to teach him about the importance of fair play and sportsmanship. To help him understand that there’s greater satisfaction in winning without using underhanded tactics. And most importantly, that it’s okay to hate losing, but if it happens, you lose with grace and come back stronger the next time. These are crucial to teach now, but these principles don’t just simply go away when you become an adult; if anything, it’s during this time that you’ll need them even more. Millions of children look up to these NFL players and put them on a pedestal as idols for them to emulate. They are watching these players and the sport owes it to them to maintain their integrity and not allow players, coaches or owners to get away with any kind of wrongdoing whatsoever.
That’s why deflategate matters. It matters because our children need to know that in football, in Candyland and just like everything else life, cheaters should never be allowed to prosper.