By Hubert Lawrence
It was a fortnight that could shake your faith in sports and sportsmen. Lance Armstrong confessed that he was in fact a user of performance-enhancing drugs. An unseemly clash lowered the colours of both Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels in Australia's Big Bash. Last, but not least, Luis Suarez admitted that he dives to gain an illegal advantage in football.
If you understood that sportsmen are just as flawed as the rest of us, you could shrug your shoulders and move on. My father would probably take a puff on his morning Benson and Hedges and ponder life. If you hold sportsmen to a higher standard, you joined the general uproar that met these events.
The drug cynics repeated their call to make illegal performance enhancers legal in the wake of the Armstrong confession. Some cricket fans echoed Warne's argument about the sport embodying passion.
Brendan Rogers, Suarez's manager at Liverpool, promised to discipline the immensely gifted striker. Personally, I wonder how football fans feel about that. That game has long operated with a different morality. In a Chelsea game last weekend, England international defender Ashley Cole stepped on an opponent's foot to prevent a goalmouth breakaway. The commentator reckoned Cole thought it was worth a yellow card.
Most football fans thought Suarez did the right thing when he made a save a goalkeeper would love in the last World Cup against Ghana. He got a red card for his troubles, but the subsequent penalty was missed. For most football aficionados, Suarez had done the right thing.
Given that history, I'm not surprised that he dives on purpose.
That admission, Armstrong's confession and the Warne-Samuels were big news.
Passing far more quietly was an act of honour by Jamaica's Danza Hyatt. Playing in a crucial Caribbean T20 match against Guyana last Saturday, Hyatt was in the field with a Jamaica team that was defending a pretty good total of 183. In the heat of battle, one of the Guyanese batsmen needed help with a shoelace and Hyatt knelt to assist.
To my best recollection, the commentators said nothing when the camera fixed on this act of honour. I couldn't understand that until a sports media colleague told me, "In cricket, that happens all the time."
Like most others, I was punch-drunk by the Armstrong and Suarez admissions and the Warne-Samuels altercations. With all that swirling around, Danza's good deed lifted my spirits.
I can hear the naysayers now. It will go something like this. They'll say Danza exemplified the lack of focus Jamaica showed in the field in that Guyana match. We're all still smarting from that loss and the focus is on that more than anything else.
Yet, it is something special that in this age, where winning is number one, that a Jamaican is a good sportsman. We compete hard and have built, in some sports, an enviable record of performance. Even with all this talk of illegal drugs in the air, our record is largely clean.
Check out the disciplinary records of our footballers. Barring Onandi Lowe, I can hardly remember a Reggae Boy being sent off in an international game. The Sunshine Girls are a model of decorum and our top stars in athletics all seem to be the nicest of people. There can't be too many who have a bad word to say about Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Chris Gayle, Alia Atkinson, Nicholas Walters or Veronica Campbell.
Danza Hyatt hasn't yet been as successful as those big names in cricket. Be that as it may. He is, however, every bit as good as they are when it comes to sportsmanship. If my colleague is right, he isn't alone. In an age where bad news is big news, Danza-like behaviour won't make the headlines.
Those front-page banners are dominated by news on big performances and upsets and by horror stories like the ones we've had to suffer through in the last fortnight. I just hope no one takes good deeds for granted.
Hubert Lawrence is the author of Champs 100: A Century of Jamaican High School Athletics 1910-2010