What does cheating mean to you?

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A debate, along with accusations of cheating and foul play, circulated all mediums these past few weeks with “Deflategate.”

The New England Patriots are suspected to have slightly deflated 11 footballs in the team’s playoff game versus the Indianapolis Colts.

The balls were suspected to have been deflated to allow the quarterback to grip the football easier and improve passing capability for the Patriots.

But moving past the scrutinized differences in air pressure inside of balls, what is cheating really?

It’s typically a word associated with one breaking a pre-established rule in order to gain an advantage through trickery or deception.

And what about other forms of cheating instances in and out of sports?

Take steroids in baseball for instance.

Players illegally boost their testosterone to become stronger and faster, but ultimately do so to hit home runs more consistently.

But how about the players using steroids to boost their recovery time and healing their body faster?

Minor leaguers and college athletes who juice but never see the big stage in the majors.

Are they too cheaters?

You still have to be talented enough to hit the ball, and that’s one of the most difficult feats to accomplish in all of sports, especially in the time of such great pitching.

How about tests in school that allow the use of prewritten notes to “cheat” and increase likelihood of passing.

Some teachers allow for open book and note tests. It’s not often, but there are many.

Imagine a student takes a test and has notes written on small slip of paper to help cheat to pass, but instead still fails said test.

What has the cheating become?

Is it a botched effort or is it no longer cheating because the result was not of victory.

Take also a relationship when one mate engages in an affair with another person.

Is the act truly cheating when only an agreement of trust and loyalty was broken?

All that is gained is pleasure via another person, and some couples maintain some sort of open relationship.

Are those people cheating?

How about models in pictures who are Photoshopped to alter any imperfections to increase sex appeal and beauty?

Is that cheating?

Maybe the world is looking at cheating in the wrong way by criminalizing the act to felony status rather than its often rightful place as a misdemeanor.

The attempt to cheat is to gain an advantage to improve possibility of success, and to succeed is the ultimate goal in all things.

In life many do cheat by lying or creating illusions of themselves to better increase odds of obtaining a job.

The only loser is the one who doesn’t get that job, and who’s to say they’d get it if the other didn’t pad their resume or interview with deception.

And in sports, what used to be considered cheating was simply gamesmanship.

Case in point: Stickum before it was banned to help players catch easier.

In baseball when a team knew an opposing player was an incredible base runner they’d water down the dirt in-between first and second base.

Or even releasing some air pressure in a ball to help a quarterback grip it better in cold 10 degree weather.

To win, that’s the point, and sometimes without winning you can’t afford to eat.

And as the great Al Davis once said: “If you aren’t cheating, you’re not trying.”