I have hesitated to write about this past week’s revelations about Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong until I had some time to process them, and until I gave the Te’o story a little more time to play out. What these two stories have revealed is remarkable in a lot of ways. But the two words I keep returning to are gullibility and sincerity.
One of the most frequently encountered questions for an ethics professor is the basic one: “Can you teach ethics?” This, of course, is mildly threatening if you are a self-interested prof whose very role depends on the answer to that question being “yes.” How can anyone teaching ethics answer that question objectively?
Would you like a recipe for driving yourself crazy if you are a control freak? Then follow your fantasy football team on the Sunday before a national election. It is hilarious for me to think that I have any control over how anyone on my fantasy football team will perform.
The picture in this post looks innocuous enough. Students are often in line—waiting to get into an exam or a class, waiting for tickets to a football game, waiting for a bus. But this line was different.
For six weeks I am the conductor, not so much of an orchestra as of a train. I set the thing in motion in a direction, and a number hop on for the whole ride. As I look in my mirror, I can see others bailing out of a boxcar and rolling down the embankment along the tracks. I even get the occasional call from someone who was left behind in the station.
I have written on multiple occasions about the tendency in our society for competence to trump integrity. Highly skilled individuals who accomplish the goals of those who hire them are regularly given free rein to succeed by whatever means necessary.
Beren Academy is a modest sized school in southwest Houston, one that values both academics and athletics. This year their boys basketball team has experienced a successful run through the state basketball playoffs of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). They dominated their quarterfinal opponent, Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, 69-42, advancing to the state semifinals this Friday evening in Mansfield. It is a game they will never play.
As head football coach, Sherman had his own standard for character and performance. If you were unwilling to live by that standard, you would not see the field, and you might not even see the locker room. That was apparent during his first year in which he sacrificed a completely winnable game because of what seemed to me to be the obstinacy of a player who did not want to pull his weight. I knew then that he was not about records, but about developing a system of excellence, one that valued integrity and character above outcomes.