Skins Cheat Legal

This morning I found myself watching a British equivalent to Sports Center on the internet. I wanted to catch up on all the soccer action from yesterday (Glory! Glory! Man United). When the show cut to a commercial break, instead of getting more coffee I took in this little piece of utility.

“Cheat legal”

I’ve been thinking about the implications of that statement all day. Nevermind blood, sweat, tears, and gutting out a win based on sheer desire. Who needs courage, commitment, practice, and teamwork when you can “Cheat Legal.”

There is a book on my shelf that before today had never been cracked, The Reason for Sports: A Christian Manifesto by Ted Kluck. Kluck, a writer for ESPN suggests that the key goal of sports is “to treat fans to a fair competition in which skilled athletes achieve success with their natural abilities.” Help me to synthesize that definition of sport with “Cheat Legal.” Not going to happen.

I loved playing sports and still love watching. The men in my house will always watch the Manchester United Football Club tear up the English Premier League on Saturday mornings. I also know that for the first 25 years of my life, nothing brought out my flesh like a soccer field. A quick glance at the sports page and its clear that I’m not the only one. As we approach sports with our young children, let’s do so with purpose, ensuring that no one cuts in on us, keeping us from obeying the truth. Lets be clear, cheating is sin.

I get that pretty much everyone will think this is a great commercial, great marketing, and that every high school athlete in the country will want a SKIN. I also understand that wearing a SKIN doesn’t constitute cheating unless the rules of the game specifically say “No SKINS.” I still hate the commercial and its message.

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