2011 – National 7th Grade 2nd Place Award Winner:

Justin Daugherty, Illinois.

Do the Ends Justify the Means ?

Do the ends justify the means? While many might say that it depends on the circumstances I believe that the ends can never justify the means. To believe so is to believe that any action no matter how bad is justified if it leads to a good outcome and this can’t be true. If it were, then harming others if it leads to an overall good outcome becomes justified and I believe that not allowing others to be harmed is more important than any good outcome. There are many examples where it is easy to see where the ends do not justify the means but I think one of the best places is in sports.

In sports, many believe that the goal is to win and some believe or are taught to believe that they should win at all cost. For them, this means that they should do whatever it takes to win, even if it means cheating. There are lots of examples where sports figures have tried to cheat to win and for a while they did win. But, in the end once it was known that they had cheated their victories or records were either taken away from them or others thought badly of them for what they had done. They were no longer winners or heroes, but losers.

One specific example where some believed that the ends justify the means in sports is the use of steroids in baseball. There are several players over the past 20 years who have now admitted to taking steroids, or if they haven’t admitted it have basically been proven to have taken them while they were playing. The best examples of this are of Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. These were two of the greatest home run hitters of all time and they broke major home run records. McGwire broke the record for most home runs in one season and Bonds set the record for most home runs in a career. For a while, McGwire was a hero and was seen as someone who overcame a lot of obstacles and worked hard to achieve something great. But a few years ago he basically admitted to using steroids and although his record still stands, no one respects him for what he did. He not only hurt himself, and even his own health, but he hurt the game of baseball. Baseball fans did not know who to trust and whether other players were playing fair. Bonds also still holds the record for most home runs in a career but it is so strongly believed that he used steroids that even though he denies ever “knowingly” to have taken them, no one believes him and he is strongly disliked by many, many fans because of this. Was it worth it for them to have cheated and used steroids? How could it have been when they have lost all respect from their fans and no one believes they deserve to hold the records when they cheated to get them.

There are many of other examples in life and history where people believed that the ends could justify the means only to find out later that this was not the case. Sports are one place where good examples can be found. In sports, like in other places in life and history, some lose sight of the real goal and believe the goal is to win at all cost. They will use the end which is to win to justify the means which is cheating. In the end, cheaters will almost always be discovered and they will learn the hard way that it was never about winning and that respect comes from working hard and playing as well as you can, win or lose.


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