On Friday night, September 17, First Presbyterian Day School of Macon Georgia defeated Strong Rock Christian School in a football game. The score was 38-8. In the FPD locker room excitement rose over winning the game. It was then that Coach Greg Moore made a discovery. In an effort to play younger players in a blow-out game, the coaching staff had inadvertently inserted an ineligible freshman. An unintentional mistake, in a game clearly decided, an error the opponents knew nothing about. Why not let it go? No one would likely ever know, and it had no effect on the final score.
But Coach Moore knew. Also, he was a aware a violation of the rules had occurred. In an unmistakable exercise of integrity, he notified the Georgia High School Athletic Association of the infraction and forfieted the game. He made another difficult phone call to the head coach at Strong Rock Christian. Later Coach Moore told his team and the media, “It was the right thing to do.”
Integrity. In the minds of many, it ranks first among the cardinal virtues. Boiled to its rock-bottom essence, it means standing by the right ideas, even when that is difficult and unprofitiable. It entail making the deliberate choice that withstands moral scrutiny, the choice that contributes in some fashion to the greater good.
Coach Moore’s choice was difficult. It may have cost his team a win and a chance for the playoffs in Region 5-A. But there will be benefits and returns. The Coach’s self-respect, his greatest single asset, remains firmly in place. His reputation for trustworthiness and playing by the rules will rise still higher. His young athletes will have received an unforgettable lesson in doing the right thing, for the right reasons, at the right time. Power to you Coach!