When I read this quote, I immediately thought of the famous golfer Bobby Jones. In the 1925 U.S. Open, as Bobby set up to hit out of the rough grass, his ball moved ever so slightly, a motion that calls for a stroke penalty. He was the only one who saw it, and yet, he called the penalty on himself. The penalty eventually cost him the championship. When people tried to congratulate him on his sportsmanship, Jones replied, “That’s like congratulating someone for not robbing a bank.”
He was truly a man of integrity. Bobby Jones personified the saying, “Character is what you do when no one else is looking.” Men of integrity value what is honest, true, noble, trustworthy, kind, and right, ahead of personal gain. When it is firmly embedded in our foundation, integrity ceases to be optional but instead becomes a way of life.
This reminds me of one of my favorite poems,
The Man in the Mirror
by Dale Wimbrow
When you get all you want and you struggle for self,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he’s with you right to the end,
and you’ve passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.