How difficult is it to overcome the temptation to win, especially when you are at an advantageous position? The story below highlights how a sportsman decided that his integrity was more important than winning any match.
A while back, there was a story about Reuben Gonzolas, who was in the final match of his first professional racquetball tournament. He was playing the perennial champion for his first shot at a victory on the pro circuit. At match point in the fifth and final game, Gonzolas made a super “kill shot” into the front corner to win the tournament. The referee called it good, and one of the linemen confirmed the shot was a winner.
But after a moment’s hesitation, Gonzolas turned and declared that his shot had skipped into the wall, hitting the floor first. As a result, the serve went to his opponent, who went on to win the match. Reuben Gonzolas walked off the court; everyone was stunned. The next issue of a leading racquetball magazine featured Gonzolas on its cover. The lead editorial searched and questioned for an explanation for the first ever occurrence on the professional racquetball circuit.
Who could ever imagine it in any sport or endeavor? Here was a player with everything officially in his favor, with victory in his grasp, who disqualifies himself at match point and loses. When asked why he did it, Gonzolas replied, “It was the only thing I could do to maintain my integrity.