Remember that old saying—"If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough"?
It's not the most sporting notion, but there's truth to be found in that well.
Athletic competition, in its most basic sense, is just someone else trying to drink your milkshake. So if you're not doing shady things in the name of protecting your banana-chocolate side-by-side, well, someone's leaving Steak 'N Shake a sad boy.
That being said, if you're going to cheat, at least do it well.
Don't half-stick it like a lazy kid at the pinata. Do some planning and give it a solid whack that actually fools someone for a decent amount of time.
The athletes in this slideshow did not give cheating a solid whack. They hit it with a damp pool noodle and people laughed.
The Incident: San Diego Chargers wideouts used stick'em (a banned substance) to add grip to their gloves during a game against the Denver Broncos in 2012.
It's unclear how long the Chargers had been applying the sticky goo to their hands, but Broncos players caught onto the gimmick early and alerted the officials. Also, the Chargers lost the game, making them not only cheaters but the worst breed of cheaters—cheaters who lose.
Awfulness Level: People who only call you when they're driving long distances.
The Incident: Jockey Sylvester Carmouche used thick fog cover to win a 1990 horse race by a ridiculous margin.
Carmouche, a veteran jockey, started the mile-long race and reined up quickly after disappearing into the fog. Sitting in the thick haze, he waited for the competition to circle back around before galloping off to the finish line.
The jockey posted a time a hairsbreadth from the track record, and it would've been a masterstroke of genius had he been riding Secretariat as opposed to Landing Officer—a five-year-old bay with 23-1 odds.
That tiny little hitch in the plan earned Carmouche a 10-year ban from horse racing in the state of Louisiana. He maintains to this day that he didn't cheat.
Awfulness level: "He Weighs Half a Bread Bowl, Benches 420..."
The Incident: Marc Gasol's shoe came off, and instead of putting it back on, he used it to swipe at Derrick Favors.
Technically cheating? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely.
Awfulness Level: Motorcycle helmets with built-in mohawks.
The Incident: Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Niekro was caught shaving baseballs with an emery board during a 1987 game.
Early in the fourth inning, officials frisked Niekro after noticing his pitches had taken on a funky twang. Unwilling to give up the charade, the pitcher pulled his pockets out in a quick motion and dumped the emery board on the nearby grass.
The maneuver would've worked, you know, had the umpires not looked anywhere but Niekro's hands.
Awfulness Level: Only being hungry for Chick-fil-A on Sundays.
The Incident: Miami Heat assistant coaches Juwan Howard and David Fizdale yelled in Danny Green's ear as he lined up for a three-pointer.
While Howard isn't on the roster anymore, he's not far enough removed from the game to not be held culpable for this BabyGap charade.
Leaning over and screaming in an opponent's ear isn't a capital offense, but it's not Howard's play to make. The best part is that the stunt didn't phase Green in the slightest.
Awfulness Level: Unsliced delivery pizza.
The Incident: Mike Tyson used his mouth to rip apart the cartilage in Evander Holyfield's ear, in a subtle attempt to eat another human being on national television.
Homicidal rage is just the most blatant form of gamesmanship.
Awfulness Level: "Stay-at-home mom becomes a triceratops after using this one weird trick. ARCHAEOLOGISTS HATE HER!"
The Incident: Georgetown freshman forward Shayla Cooper lost her shoe on defense and then attempted to skeet-shoot a ball out of the air with the lost article. Because that's an option on the table at this point.
Miraculously, no foul was called on the play, presumably because the act triggered the part of the referee's brain that shuts down when he sees stuff like athletes throwing shoes during basketball games that matter.
Awfulness Level: Rob Ford.
The Incident: After a critical third-and-one run by DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo pushed the ball forward in a half-joking attempt to convert the first.
Romo claims he was joking around, but it doesn't really matter. Romo is the Nic Cage of downplaying moments, and not a single soul missed his little bit of footsie.
BS Level: Kanye West's inability to perform live shows without a giant moving picture screen.
The Incident: Amateur scam artist Rosie Ruiz hoodwinked the entire Boston Marathon for a few hours.
You know the story: Ruiz started the 1980 Boston Marathon, hopped on a subway train after a short jaunt and broke back into the race with a mile or so left to go.
She is the worst, and her actions will salt the fields of her ancestors until the Ragnarok.
Awfulness Level: Morning weddings.
In a performance that would gall even Keanu Reeves, Brian Walker tried to sell contact on this pitch and ended up embarrassing himself and his entire team. Miraculously, the umpire allowed Walker to continue hitting.
Determined to end this situation as poorly as possibly, Walker fanned the next pitch, yelled at the ump and earned himself an immediate ejection.
Awfulness Level: Your autopsy reading "Cause of Death: Circus peanuts."
The Incident: After crapping out 20 miles into the race, Sunderland Harriers marathon runner Rob Sloan jumped a bus to the finish line and placed third.
Sloan would've had everyone fooled had it not been for those truth-seeking snitches on the bus who gave him up. As it turned out, the double-decker he had jumped on was an observation bus full of race spectators there to watch the marathon. Yup.
Awfulness Level: "Sorry, bro. I can't tonight. Tinder date."
The Incident: Italian runner Devis Licciardi was caught using a "Whizzinator" prior to a 10 kilometer race in September.
The details are scant, but it's exactly what it sounds like: Licciardi filled a fake, rubber phallus with clean urine and attempted to sneak it into a pre-race drug screening.
The story the world needs to hear, however, is the tale of the unfortunate urine screener who discovered the plastic pastrami and had to take a long, strange walk to his superior's office.
Awfulness Level: Impaled Capri Sun.
The Incident: After running out of gas near the 9-mile mark at the 1904 Olympics, marathoner Fred Lorz jumped in his manager's car and rode the next 11 miles of the course.
Coincidentally, Lorz's cheat job didn't even work properly. His manager's car broke down near the 20-mile marker, and the runner continued to walk until a mile or so before the finish line.
Lorz finished far enough ahead of everyone to raise eyebrows, and after receiving the gold medal, he admitted his ploy was a "bad joke" and returned the item.
Good one, Lorz.
Awfulness Level: Families whose kids' names all start with the same letter.
The Incident: Filipino-Australian basketball player Mick Pennisi managed to cook up the worst flop in basketball history.
After laying down an awkward, slap-fight style foul on an opponent, Pennisi received the gift of a basketball to the forehead. A moment later, dual snipers punched shells through both of his Achilles tendons.
Awfulness Level: "I'm a vegetarian. I eat fish, though."
The Incident: Russian pentathlete Borys Onyshchenko was caught using a hidden circuit breaker to score points in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Onyshchenko could've been a master cheat, if only it weren't for his poor execution.
The pentathlete somehow managed to rig a button-activated mechanism in the handle of his fencing sword that would trigger his opponent's touch sensor.
It was a brilliant feat of engineering, but judges at the 1976 Olympic Games noticed something was up after the Russian continued to register touches without his epee (fencing sword) getting anywhere near his opponent. His gear was eventually examined. The mechanism was discovered, and he was disqualified from the competition.
Awfulness Level: [Speeds through parking lot] [Reverses BMW 3 Series into parking spot] [Hangs Wayfarers on rear-view mirror].
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