Red Sox GM Terry FranconaWould you use tobacco if it was going to cost you $20,000? Do you think that you could kick your habit for at least the duration of a baseball season? The manager for the Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona, is (quite literally) betting that he can. He needs to abstain from using any sort of tobacco product, especially chewing tobacco, or else he will be making a $20,000 donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. If he manages to keep himself away, then that same donation is going to have to come out of Boston CEO Larry Lucchino‘s pocket. (Source: ABC)

“It’s a hard habit to break, but I have the will do it,” Francona said in a team-issued press release. “And I know that in breaking this habit and vanquishing this addiction, I can show thousands of people who never should have started that they can stop, and they can stop right now. To have the support of Larry Lucchino and the whole Red Sox organization infuses me with strength and resolve that are greater than mine alone. I appreciate this effort, and I know how much it means to so many.”

Terry Francona is in a win-win situation with this bet. For at least the next 8 or 9 months, he will have great motivation to stay away from tobacco and help to improve his health and well being. If he fails, he will get to make a donation to the official charity of the Red Sox. Hopefully, Larry Lucchino will be the one taking the hit in the pocketbook, both because it means that Francona succeeded and because I like Francona more than I like Lucchino. At the end, though, I hope that both men make their donations no matter what the outcome is.

What is so great about a bet like this is because it will be well publicized and it will inspire other people to follow suit. Red Sox fans will hear about this bet and will see if they can quit smoking or chewing as well.

No SmokingIn fact, I challenge any Red Sox fan that does use tobacco to make a bet with themselves: If you can not abstain for this baseball season, you should make a donation as well. It does not have to be as large as $20,000, but it should be large enough to provide the motivation to quit. That could be $50, it could $100, or it could be $1,000. Remember that your weekly tobacco costs are going to be gone, so you will have more money than you are used to with the current prices of tobacco.

Write whatever amount you decide upon on a slip of paper, and tape it to your bathroom mirror so that you will see it every day. Take the money that you would have spent on your cigarettes or chew and put it aside. If you succeed, then take enough out for a small prize such as a meal out, and donate the rest of it anyway. You won’t miss the cash since you would have spent it anyway, and that weekly amount can now be the foundation for future saving. If you fail, then add the money you saved in your attempt and add it to whatever the amount was that you said you would donate if you didn’t make it. That way, you are going to still have the proper motivation to keep going.

Leave a comment if you are willing to take me up on this challenge. If there is enough interest, I will put together some sort of contest and we can track each other’s progress and encourage one another for some prizes at the end.