Saturday, March 14, 2015

Letter to My Boxers - On Cheating

Dear Boxers,

I've been wanting to write this letter to you for a long time. I hope that you will read it now, think about it, and maybe read it again in the future.

Being back in Baldwin Park, I've noticed how cheating is everywhere. It's unbelievable.

Julian and I used to make a joke to the boxing kids. In Baldwin Park, if you want to get rich, don't get an education. Just learn to lie, cheat, and steal, and you'll be rich.

And even though that's a joke, the sad part is that probably is the truth to get ahead in this city. When I look in the sports world, colossal figures like Lance Armstrong have been caught cheating. Tiger Woods cheated in another sense. Professional boxers are taking steroids.

As you know, the City Attorney defrauded the court to try to get ahead. We know that Manuel Carrillo Jr. got ahead by laundering money for the City - while ruining our boxing program. He makes $200,000 for doing it.

Like I said, it's like almost everywhere I look people are lying, cheating, and stealing to get ahead. It's almost become a global epidemic.

It made me wonder, is cheating such a big problem now because of the pressures we face or is it because people have become morally weaker? In other words, are people cheating because people feel like if they don't, they'll get taken advantage of?

I mean - to get into college these days, I hear high school students are representing that they founded a non-profit to cure HIV in Africa or save endangered seals in Antarctica. That makes other students want to misrepresent such facts. I can totally see how this happens. The kid has a father that knows how to start up a non-profit corporation. The father starts one up for his kid. He makes the kid the president. Their stated purpose is to eradicate poverty in the world. Then, the kid without a father such as this, has to resort to lying because he or she believes in not doing so, she won't get into the university she wants. And if she doesn't get into the university she wants, she won't get the job she wants. And if she doesn't get the job she doesn't want, then her life was meaningless.

I don't really know how to convince you that cheating is a bad idea. No doubt teachers will tell you it's not worth it. But then they just tell you vaguely that there are consequences for you. In the real world, you'll see that it appears that the consequences gets the cheater ahead.

Really, the only solution I can propose to restrain yourself from falling into this trap is to realize that the gains are short term. I've never seen anyone who has made money easily use it wisely because they don't value it as the person who has worked for it. I want you to also remember that resorting to such means will change you.

You will become a person whose selfish ambitions will harm others. One only has to look at Lance Armstrong and how he extorted and threatened all those around him that were about to expose him.

Also, remember, most of you have younger brothers and sisters or someone that looks up to you. If you engage in such behavior, you set the example for them.

I suppose the reward for keeping on the straight, narrow, and honest track is that people will trust you, and you too, will know that no matter the result, you did the right thing. In the end, even when we are gone from this earth, people will remember who you are and what you did. So, remember that, even in the small choices you make.

I guess that's it for now.

Paul Cook

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