10 July 2014

You are forgiven too Lou Vincent

Courtesy www.stuff.co.nz
Lou Vincent, former New Zealand cricketer, was slapped with a life ban for match-fixing.  You do wrong, you get caught, you pay.  That’s it.  You cannot expect people to feel sorry for you.  I don’t feel sorry for Lou Vincent.  I just admire the guy and the admiration has nothing to do with cricket or match-fixing.  It has nothing to do with ‘coming clean’ because the man didn’t have too many options and when someone with a single choice makes it the silliest thing to do would be to applaud.
He has offered the cricketing world details about the ways and means of match-fixing.  He has shown potential victims of machinations, if you want to call them that, what to look out for.  This is also good.  Good, but easy when you really don’t have anything (more) to lose. That’s not enough to warrant admiration though.     
I admire him because he has given himself the best chance possible for a decent post-cheating afterlife by doing the ‘coming clean’ in a manner that clearly shows remorse.  He’s been open about frailties but more than that has demonstrated the will, brains, temperament and a refreshing equanimity to put it all behind him.
Vincent refers in his interview with radio networks Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport to a ‘hero’, a person he went to when he was first approached by a bookie.  The ‘hero’, he discovered, was a fixer.  The ‘hero’ lured Vincent into the world of match-fixing.  Vincent was no toddler crawling in his diapers of course, so no pity there for him.  What caught attention, however, was his respond to a question put to him, ‘do you hate him (the ‘hero’):
‘No, I’ve learnt to forgive I think that’s one of the most powerful tools of actually being able to deal with pain and stress in one’s life. You’ve got to learn to accept bad thing can happen…how you gonna deal with it, accepting it, forgiving and moving on.’

Could have been just ‘words’.  Easy things to say and ever so easy for someone who at one point in his life felt it was ok to deceive his country and his teammates.  Still, he said it.  And it rang true too.  Even if it didn’t, it’s a great idea and one that can empower one and all, in and out of cricket, in all things and in all places and situations.

Anything less than ‘forgive’ and we are in tit-for-tat territory and I’ve never come across an instance where that has helped either of the parties, those ‘titting’ and those ‘tatting’.  Vincent can forgive because he has said ‘I did wrong and I regret’ (whether compelled to or out of remorse it does not matter).  He need not have forgiven. He need not have said he has forgiven.  He could have said any number of things. He could have said ‘No, I don’t’ and stopped there. He did not.  He elaborated.  He made a point. He showed the world a way of being and doing things. 

Lou Vincent’s cricketing career is over.  He has hurt many people.  He has cheated many people.  And yet, at the end of the day, he has come to a place and remains there in a manner that will compel more than a handful of people to say, ‘Thanks Lou and don’t worry, we forgive you’.