You score dozens of goals in today's game, your team practically killing the other. But as you thought this amazing day would continue, an opponent shouts, "You cheated!" Another follows, "You can't just do that!" Angry voices surround you, and the sense of guilt quickly rushes over you. You ask yourself, "I shouldn't have done that, right?"

For a whole week, you're ashamed. You realize that conduct is far more important than winning. You never intended to hurt the other team's feelings. You just wanted to do well. You wanted your team to acknowledge you, praise you, love you... But you ended up being hated, even by your teammates. "Look at what you did," one had said. "Not only are they mad at you, they're upset with all of us."

Now you think, "Why is conduct more important? I know it is, but I don't know why." An angelic voice pops into your head, asking, "Why do you ask that? It's a life lesson we all must learn. I will give you three days time to think about it When you are done, tell me, and you shall be rewarded greatly." You had no idea as to where this voice came from, and how to hear it again, but you did what she wanted you to do anyway.

"Why is it more important? you ask yourself. You go to sleep, hoping that your dream would tell you. Sure enough, it does. Partially. Another voice started speaking to you. "Do you want to be hated? it asked. "Why do you play? To win and bash others' feelings? Or to have fun and get energized? Do you think you should change?" "Yes, I do, I do!" you shout as you wake up. "I get it now. All I have to do is answer these questions."

"I see that you are done," the angelic tone said softly. "So tell me. Why?" "It's because," you say confidently. "If you don't have good conduct, people will hate you, and if you do, you'll probably be considered a great player, since you aren't obnoxious and play unfairly." "Very well done," what seemed to be your conscience said. "Now hurry up. You're almost late for school."

"We know you've changed," the bus driver said as you board the bus. You see your best friend saving you a spot. "We're happy you've changed," he says.


Author's Note: A short essay I wrote for a mandatory writing contest. The topic asked you what was more important when playing games: good conduct or winning. So technically, you could choose "winning" and still get first place, if the teacher judges think it has meaning and is creative. This essay won third place for my grade. :)