Stephen Dubner on cheating: a response


As much as we profess to like the games for the games’ sake, perhaps cheating is part of the appeal, a natural extension of sport that people condemn on moral grounds but secretly embrace as what makes sports most compelling.

No, actually it’s not.

For all the talk of how cheating “destroys the integrity of the game,” maybe that’s not true at all? Perhaps cheating actually adds a layer of interest — a cat-and-mouse element, a detective-story element — that complements the game?

No, it doesn’t.

Just as the theological concept of the Resurrection is so powerful (see Tyler Cowen’s discussion here of the theology behind Freakonomics, a notion I find flattering, if exaggerated), and just as a harsh winter is followed by an insistent spring, I wonder if our interest in sport too springs eternal, not in spite of the cheating scandals, but because of them?

No. It’s “in spite of.” (And what the hell’s all that about the Resurrection?)