“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” – J.C. Watts
He could have remained silent. No one would have known. If he just keeps his mouth shut, his team defends their state championship. His seniors, the ones he chose to end his coaching career with, would ride off into the sunset hoisting the trophy as back-to-back state champs.
But, he would have known. So, he spoke. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. He found a scoring error–an honest mistake–that meant his team would fall from state champions to third place. So, he made the call. First, to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). Then, to the head track coach at Central Catholic, the true state champions.
He did what was right when he did not have to. How many of us would do this?
We live in a world where we crave winning. We have to be the best and have the best. What is our record? How much money do you have? How many championships have you won? What all-star/AAU/travel team do you play on?
Society divides itself based on these so-called important criteria–rich or poor, wrong or right, winner or loser. It seems as though our entire life is an arms race to the top at the expense of everyone else. In many facets of the world, the win at all costs mentality truly exists.
People often say that it is difficult to do the right thing. Should it be? Doing the right thing should be the easiest thing we do because it is right. We should feel good about doing the right thing, not disappointed that we have to.
We should not focus on what it may cost us because if we had to go against right to get it, then it was never rightfully ours in the first place.
Doing the right thing did not cost North Attleboro a state championship. But, it did make that school, and its coach winners. It earned them a lot of respect.
As this article so eloquently sums up: “Nice guys don’t finish last. They finish third, with dignity and respect.”
Coach Derek Herber did not think twice about doing what was right. Neither should we.
Bring your best today!