At All Costs

Daryl Kirby | May 27, 2023

Go big or go home. That’s all good and well, great advice. Unless, of course, the impacts of going home are far worse than the potential rewards of going big. Stating the obvious there, but there seems to be an ever-escalating ‘at all costs’ mentality in all walks of life.

A young hunter seems desperate to break into the high-profile arena of social media glory. Seems to be heading in that direction after taking some good bucks on public land with a bow. Then he gets popped by the warden with a deer rifle on a WMA when it’s not gun season. Kid is far from a star of his Facebook group these days. I’d say the rewards of going big with that path were outweighed by the impact of going home.

The Houston Astros infamously engaged in sign stealing during their games, using a plastic trash can to relay signals to their batters about what pitch was coming. This unethical behavior ultimately helped them win a World Series. Major League Baseball didn’t strip them of their title, nor did the pitchers who were cheated have their statistics adjusted. Hey, whatever it takes, right? At all costs.

Big sidetrack… I love the Braves, but I’ll never forgive MLB—and particularly MLB commissioner Rob Manfred—for stealing Georgia’s All-Star game by caving to a completely false narrative and outright lie that Georgia had passed a “voter suppression” law. Utter absurdity. Particularly when MLB moved the All-Star game from Georgia to Colorado, where it’s literally and demonstratively more difficult to vote. The ‘voter suppression’ false narrative is actually a pretty good example of the ‘at any cost’ mentality—much of it falls in the arena of politics these days. Georgia passes a law with minor changes to voting—like requiring an ID—to shore up the very basic American concept of one person, one vote, so MLB yanks the All-Star game and sends it to Colorado… where it’s more difficult to vote. Still waiting on that apology.

Last month I saw an example of the at-all-costs mentality at a high school tennis match, of all places. These are usually the least competitive of high school sporting events—a far cry from, let’s say, fast-pitch softball or baseball, where folks might just from time to time get a little sideways. At this high school region tennis championship, a coach decided to set his line-up not based on the skill level of players—best player against the other team’s best player, second best against second best and so on. Because the opposition had a D1 recruit playing the one line, this coach sent a JV player out to slaughter in front of everyone and just indexed his varsity guys down the lineup. One of the varsity guys didn’t even get to compete. It’s called stacking. This was extreme, unapologetic, at-any-cost stacking. And it almost worked—that coach almost ‘earned’ a region title. But they lost. Had they won, what did that team and school lose in reputation? Was it worth sacrificing the integrity of the game and the impact on the impressionable young high school kids witnessing this at-any-costs mentality?

If one side of the political spectrum decides to unleash their full arsenal to take down a rival, no matter the cost, they should consider that they are rewriting the rules of engagement. The other half of the country may take serious offense to such actions. The process, actions and results of trying to eliminate a rival may be far worse than simply tolerating said rival in political office.

We see it all too often in politics. One side snookers the other, greases the right rails, slips something in at the last minute. Is it worth the cost? When you re-write the playbook, the next underhanded move may be played against your side.

The decision to walk through this life with an at-any-cost mentality will probably result in some wins, but what does it look like in the rearview mirror? A landscape full of burned bridges and skeletons of relationships is one heck of a price to pay.

So when is it time to let it rip, no holds barred? Very sparingly. Probably best to keep that powder dry and stored away.

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