Fall of some of our heroes can serve as hope for the future

QUICKREAD

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What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Ray Lewis recently was accused of using a banned substance to help him recover quickly from a torn triceps muscle. He claims to have passed every test in the NFL and then went on the attack against his accuser. He labeled him as a “coward” and “foolish,” and claimed, “The guy has no credibility.”

He also tried to distract from the issue by claiming, “The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy.”

I don’t know about the veracity of the claims against Ray Lewis, but it sounded like an exact replay of the tactics employed by Lance Armstrong over the past decade as he denied, distracted and attacked. Most of the world now knows Lance Armstrong was not truthful with his denials, and many were shocked at the scope of his cover-up.

Cheating seems to have become an epidemic in American society. We read about issues in sports, academics, politics, business and relationships. In addition to the recent admissions from Armstrong, we see that no one was elected to the Hall of Fame in baseball last year because of the steroid scandals of the 1990s.

The excuse commonly tossed about is: Everyone was doing it. This is the justification used by liars and cheats to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions. But just because everyone is cheating and lying does not mean it is right. I am sure many of you reading this can clearly remember your mom or dad telling you, “If everyone is jumping off a bridge, would you, too?”

It seems like our society is so focused on winning at all costs that we forget what those costs actually are. Rarely do the means justify the ends. Taking shortcuts and cheating may lead to fame and fortune, but these are pyrrhic victories, and no one with any honor would feel good about them.

Most of us do not need to look in the dictionary to know the meaning of cheating. As U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart recently said, any kindergartner would know the meaning. 

The fall of these heroes may leave us hurting and disappointed. But I see this as a reason for hope. To me, it says no one is above being held accountable.

I see hope in the fact our society cares. We care about not just the result, but more importantly, how the result was achieved. I see hope that perhaps we are starting to say how you compete, how you compose yourself, how you play the game are more important than the result. I see hope that integrity and competing with honor matter. 

Everyone makes mistakes, but these mistakes are only magnified when we try to cover them with lies. I believe everyone is capable of redemption, and our actions are what define us as human beings.

The inversion finally has lifted, and the days are lengthening and warming. I hope to take my first outdoor bicycle ride of the year this morning and then join millions of my fellow Americans as we enjoy an American institution: The Super Bowl.

I love watching football and hope for a good game.

What I really love is when I see a vicious but clean hit on a player, but when the defender stops to offer a hand up to his opponent after the hit. To me, that is classy and honorable. That action says we are all human beings and a hand of help can be offered when one is knocked down.

And I am hoping Integrity, Honesty and Fair Play are coming back into style.

Good Riding!


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