Saturday, July 31, 2010
"A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times." Source Unknown
* * * * *
We learn many lessons from playing and following sports. One that sticks with me is the importance of our integrity and a story about Joe Dimaggio who was known for his honesty and integrity.
There was an instance when the hall-of-fame baseball player was at bat. During this particular time at bat he took two strikes. Then, as the pitcher delivered the next pitch, the wind caused dust to swirl around the plate. As the ball passed the plate and the umpire called strike three, dust got in Dimaggio's eyes and he turned his head away from the dust storm to face back toward the umpire. Not knowing Joe had dust in his eyes, the umpire, startled that Dimaggio would question a call, something he had never before done, threw up his hands and said, "Honest, Joe, it was a strike."
Isn't it amazing that a person's character could be so impeccable that another person would be so surprised at a perceived deviation from normal behavior?
Many years ago when I applied to one particular agency for a law enforcement position, one in which integrity is vital, a lieutenant was going through the questions on the application with me. One asked if, other than normal parking tickets, I had received any traffic citations. I had typed in, "I have never received a ticket." He commented on that and I prepared for the next question which I did not expect to be, "Did you ever deserve any (citations)?"
I immediately answered, "Yes, technically, several times." "I just wanted to see if you'd tell the truth," he said and then explained that some applicants do lie even though it is unlikely that there is someone who hasn't exceeded the speed limit at some time, for example. Maybe not excessively or intentionally but exceeded it nevertheless.
That got me wondering why it is so easy for some people to avoid being honest, especially in a position that requires such a high level of trust and believability. But the type of position should not matter, should it?
How about us? Do we adhere to a high code of ethics in our lives? Are we honest? Can people count on us to do what we say we will do? Can people trust us? Do we possess the integrity of Joe Dimaggio?