Some people subscribe to the old adage “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” Which is pretty much bogus, considering winning honestly takes much more “trying” than cutting corners.
However, cheating has been around sports since the invention of the over-competitive jackoff, and it’s something we’ll have to deal with until the earth is but loam and winning no longer earns you hot women and a house in the Caymans.
The following examples show how cheaters go about their dirty work on the field of play. But do not—I repeat—do not try any of these at home, kids.
Don’t try them anywhere, actually.
Step One: Set pivot foot.
Step Two: Billy Jean.
Step Three: Take it to the hole.
A baby step here, a tiny “adjustment” there and a splash of heel-shuffling can go a long way toward setting you up with a better look at the basket.
And as the Duke player in this video illustrates, if you do it right, it looks like a subliminal tribute to Michael Jackson.
Step One: Catch ball.
Step Two: Pin base runner’s leg to your body with glove.
Step Three: Uproot runner’s foot from bag, fall backward.
And voila! An out!
It might not be fail-proof, but it worked for 253-pound Minnesota Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek, who applied a tag to 172-pound Ron Gant and ended up basically dead-lifting the Atlanta Braves base runner off the bag with an arm tucked under Gant’s leg.
Step One: Grab part of opponent's body.
Step Two: Sling said body part violently into own face.
Step Three: Pray the call goes your way, and that whatever anatomy you just grabbed wasn’t south of the border.
There are plenty of ways to fake injury in the game of soccer, but using your opponent’s own limbs to slap yourself into possession of the ball is probably the most insidious and stupid one out there.
And it works like a charm.
Step One: Get juked by player you’re assigned to block.
Step Two: Try to make up for it by diving at his legs from behind.
Step Three: Get up and walk away with a “Gee, what happened to him?” expression on your face.
Face-masking? Old news. A punch to the papa pouch? Weak sauce.
Apparently if you really want to take a defender in the NFL off his game you have to go for the tender stringy parts in his knees.
He might not have intended to hurt him, but Matt Slauson’s chop block on Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing this past October ended up tearing Cushing’s ACL and ending his season.
Chop-blocking is a dangerous and recurring maneuver on all levels of play, but the NFL appears to be only concerned with protecting players on the offensive side of the ball.
Step One: Raise stick so it’s eye level with opponent’s goalkeeper.
Step Two: Be an a*hole.
You have to know the rules in order to exploit them, which is exactly what New York Rangers left winger Sean Avery was all about when he began face-guarding New Jersey Devils keeper Martin Brodeur in a game in 2008.
At the time no distinct statute in the NHL rulebook explicitly outlawed Avery’s antics, but shortly after the game the league introduced “The Avery Rule” specifically banning the practice.
Step One: Dribble.
Step Two: Pick Up Dribble, gaze around for a little bit.
Step Three: Dribble one last time for good measure, score and smile in disbelief that you got away with it.
They say that 60 percent of the time, double-dribbling works every time.
Actually, no one has ever said that. How Amir Johnson got away with this egregious double dribble last week in front of three referees is beyond me.
Step One: Wait for a close pitch.
Step Two: Pirouette away in fear.
Step Three: Hope the umpire has cataracts, and mewl in false pain until everyone in stadium hates you.
Derek Jeter might be able to pull it off, but no one at Swayze Field was biting when a player on the University of Arkansas baseball team faked an injury after an inside pitch passed within his personal space.
Seriously, kid—wait for a ball that bites some fabric, or at least a close buzz that gets away from the catcher before trying to win a Tony Award for “Most Undeserved Walk to First.”
Step One: Spike the ball, call timeouts and run offensive plays.
Step Two: Rinse and repeat until you score or someone says something.
It wasn't exactly cheating, but my hopes are that football will never see another perfect storm of miscommunication like the one that occurred in a 1990 game between the University of Colorado and Missouri.
Colorado’s offense marched down the field and ended up receiving five downs on the Missouri goal line as a result of a mistake made by officials holding the down markers, who gave Colorado two first downs.
The Buffaloes made the most of the opportunity and punched the ball in on the fifth down to win the game. The Buffs' victory over the Tigers allowed Colorado to split the 1990 national title with Georgia Tech.
Step One: Wait for the race leader’s chain to drop.
Step Two: Disregard race decorum and take off like a bat out of hell.
Step Three: Win the Tour de France.
Steroids seems like pretty much only way to win the Tour de France these days.
But Spanish rider Alberto Contador managed to double down on the dirtiness when he attacked yellow jersey leader Andy Schleck after Schleck suffered mechanical difficulties in a mountain stage of the 2010 Tour de France.
The move was a grievous breach of Tour de France etiquette, given the unspoken rule that riders don’t take advantage of a race leader’s mechanical failure in order to win.
But that’s precisely what happened—Contador swept past Schleck, put minutes of time between him the man in the yellow jersey and ended up winning the Tour de France.
As I said, it turned out to be a doubly bad deed on Contador’s part, considering he was indicted for blood-doping two years later and stripped of his ill-gotten yellow jersey.
Karma is a chameleon, Contador. It come and go.
Step One: Put skate in crease.
Step Two: Remind city of Buffalo that dreams don’t come true when you live in Buffalo.
Sometimes the wording in the rulebook isn’t cast iron and crystal clear with regard to certain parts of the game, and sometimes a player can use that to his or her advantage.
It might have been “legal” at the time, but Brett Hull’s goal against the Buffalo Sabers in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals ended the series in controversy, and prompted the NHL to issue a clarification of its rules for scoring in the crease.
Step One: Guard opponent closely.
Step Two: Wait for opponent to try to create space with his body.
Step Three: Snap head back and stagger away from opponent, biting down on blood capsule stored in mouth.
He might not have gone as far as incorporating fake blood into the act, but Denver Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez pushed flopping to its limit by taking an invisible elbow to the face.
Step One: Put on team-issue soffe shorts.
Step Two: Penetrate the box and hope for a cross, or in this case a terrible clearance.
Step Three: Super Mario jump punch ball over keeper.
Diego Maradona and his infamous "Hand of God" goal put Argentina over England in the 1986 World Cup Finals.
It was perhaps cheating at its most blatant and shameless, but proved this valuable lesson—the more you act like your goal counted, the more likely it will be tallied.