I find that anger sometimes unexpectedly explodes inside me. It happened yesterday.
I don’t follow football particularly closely, but when I read about the ‘Luis Suarez handball incident’ I found my anger levels become surprisingly high. In case you’re not aware of the incident, his goal, which was scored with the help of his hand, ensured that Liverpool knocked Mansfield Town out of the FA Cup.
In part, I was angry (but certainly not surprised) that he hadn’t owned up in the first place. But what made me really angry was when people jumped to his defence – saying that it wasn’t his job to own up, and instead blamed the match officials for not spotting it.
Yes, the match official may well have some questions to answer. But, my opinion is straightforward: he shouldn’t have done it in the first place, and after the ship had sailed on that option, he should have owned up.
As I reflected on why the incident made me so angry, I realised that it wasn’t really anything to do with football. It was the thought that there seems to be a growing acceptance that ‘getting ahead by any means necessary’ is an OK approach to life.
There have been plenty of studies to show that people are increasingly comfortable with the cheating and telling (smallish) lies to achieve a favourable outcome – for themselves, of course.
That should be a cause for concern, right?
Then, it dawned on me that there might be something else within these feelings of anger. That was, because the incident cut close to the bone.
As I read various tweets on the matter, one leapt out at me. It pointed out that regardless of where we lay the blame, perhaps it’s dangerous being too hard on Suarez. After all – what would we have done in that situation?
Jesus’s challenge to take the plank out of my own eye before I point out the speck of dust in someone else’s eye, began to bounce around my head.
So yes, we live in a society where cheating a little, and telling the odd lies, is seen as part of the course in order to get ahead. Or if getting ahead isn’t the motivation, perhaps, having an easy life is. But, when was the last time I did something along those lines? I’m saddened by this attitude that is so prevalent; but am I part of the solution or am I part of the problem?
Was it that long ago since you last told a little lie to cover up a mistake? Or claimed an idea that wasn’t yours as your own? Or bumped another car while trying to park, causing a tiny bit of damage, but not leaving a note?
Anger, can be a good thing, or a bad thing. In this case, I think I need to point my anger in the right direction. At myself.
Suarez’s actions have angered me; the attitudes of others have angered me even more. But first and foremost I need to take a close look at myself. What would we have done had we been in Suarez’s situation?
I know I’d like to be able to say that I wouldn’t have done it, or if I had I would have owned up, but would I have done? And yes, perhaps I would have done, knowing that the cameras were rolling and would have undoubtedly picked it up. But, what if I knew that no one would ever find out…?