Bad Sportsmanship! A fantasy?
Not playing by the rules!
George had a dilemma, and it was causing him to struggle with his conscience. He had been team coach of the Eagles for several seasons, and while they had enjoyed some success in the early days, they were on a downward trend, and his team members were losing faith in him.
They had suffered several defeats at the hands of the Ali-cats, who were growing in stature and had all the hallmarks of starting to dominate the league. This bothered George a lot, and he began to wonder what he might do to strengthen his own popularity. He sought the advice of his assistant coach, Ronnie, who was forthright in his opinions.
“Sometimes,” Ronnie advised him, “One can enhance ones own reputation by discrediting ones opponents.” He accompanied the comment with a wink and a nudge.
That night, George thought long and hard about the words Ronnie had spoken. Had he been suggesting some kind of dirty tricks campaign? Quite obviously, he had, but did George have the nature or the conscience to engage in such tactics?
He was concerned that the Ali-cats were becoming so popular that many supporters were beginning to transfer their allegiance. Even if he couldn’t strengthen his own team, he understood what Ronnie was aiming at. Discredit the opposition, and the rest would follow! He had to do it.
The opportunity would present itself the following week, when the Eagles and the Ali-cats were scheduled for a confrontation. George knew he would need help to make his plan work. A mole in the opposition camp. There was only one person he knew he could depend on.
Osgood had been one of the leading financial backers of the Ali-cats for years, but he also bore a grudge against the team. He had assumed that, having poured so much finance into them, it would entitle him to a high level of control of the club. But it hadn’t worked out that way. He was swamped by strong minded officials, who virtually reduced his involvement to that of a ‘sleeping’ partner, a perfunctory figure head. This annoyed him intensely, and as the team was growing in stature, his own position was becoming even less significant. George knew that Osgood was close to withdrawing his support from the club.
“But what if you were to discredit the training staff?” George teased him when they had their clandestine meeting. “Show them up to be bad sports, with dirty tactics! Then when the shit hits the fan, you can come to the rescue, and from the ashes of their embarrassment, you can once again become the saviour of the day!”
Osgood was impressed. He had no moral scruples whatsoever, and his ego demanded that he take such an opportunity to self-elevate his stature.
“But how will we do it?” he enquired.
George outlined the plan. Osgood would have to pay off a few of the Ali-cats to use dirty tactics to have the Eagles’ best players removed from the game. The culprits would then claim that they had been instructed to do it, the coaching staff would be blamed, the whole team would crumble, the Eagles would be looked upon as victims, and the field would be clear for Osgood to step in and offer to rebuild the Ali-cats. George and Osgood would both come out of it smelling of roses. Osgood liked it.
To make the process more likely to succeed, George had to give a bit of assistance. The Eagles’ strongest players were twin brothers, Norman and Stanley Tower. They had a reputation for being aggressive, business like and virtually unstoppable on the field of play. As they were also extremely popular, they were the obvious choice of target for the dirty tactics. But they wouldn’t be easy to injury, so George needed to make them more fragile. On the day of the big game, he sneaked into the changing rooms and discreetly slipped mild tranquilizers into the boys’ water bottles. That was all it would take, to weaken them and make them vulnerable to attack.
From the moment that Norman and Stanley took to the field, it was evident that things were not right. During the early plays they seemed docile and lethargic, and ten minutes into the game, it began! A loose ball came to Norman, and he was immediately off-balance. In seconds the opposition were on to him, and he went down like a ton of bricks. Aggression took over, and Norman received a pounding, and during the fracas, Stanley was unceremoniously dragged into the scuffle and pummelled by opposition boots and fists. All hell broke loose! It was becoming a blood bath, and the referee had no option but to cancel the game.
The crowd was in shock at such a display of aggression. Questions would have to be asked and answers given.
George was quick to spring into action. He called a press conference and condemned the actions of the Ali-cats, and in an act of the most appalling treachery, he pointed the finger of responsibility at Osgood!
“But what about the Tower Twins?” one journalist asked!
George remained silent.