Thanks to the Oprah interview, all the speculation about Lance Armstrong and doping charges have been confirmed. Though many people including me, thought for years that he was probably guilty of illegally enhancing his performance, I’m always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Clearly my belief in a celebrated hero gone bad, made me stand back and reevaluate my thoughts on this mess.
There’s a saying, “The bigger you are the harder you fall,” and there’s no better example of that than with Lance Armstrong. About six years ago, I met the cycling champ and found him to be rude, cocky and clearly taken with himself. But, that was my experience and in his defense it was a huge fundraiser, he looked tired, and perhaps he was having a bad day.
So when all of this discussion about doping charges came out, I couldn’t help but think of my experience with him and honestly, I had little if any sympathy for him. But the truth is, do we really have the right to judge someone when we neither know their story or their motives?
I heard an interview with Mark Wahlberg, (dreamy) a couple of days ago and he said something that gave me pause. He was asked about his feelings regarding the faux Tour de France champ and he said, “Look, everyone deserves a second chance. I know I was given a second chance and it changed my life.”
I’m a proponent of second chances. I have seen people go through some pretty rough times and given an opportunity for a do over, they made a positive, powerful impact on the lives of others. So should the same courtesy be given to Armstrong?
There’s an awful lot of people that he screwed over. There are a number of sponsors, teammates and fans that feel terribly betrayed. The fact that he’s a grown man makes the situation a little more prickly after all, shouldn’t he have known better? And then of course there are his children, what about them? What kind of teasing and chastising will they receive at the hand of those that are happy for the fall of this once revered champion?
I think this is a teaching moment. I believe that if someone has a second chance and fully realizes the damage that’s been done and is able to somehow make things right and go on and live a productive life, it’s worth a shot.
Who am I to say he should go bankrupt and be left out on the street? That’s not what our country is about, that’s not what being human and compassionate is about. Someone asked me before if a murderer or rapist should have a second chance? I can’t answer that because it stirs up a completely different set of emotions and circumstances which I’m not willing to touch.
Armstrong has done a pretty terrible thing, but he didn’t kill anyone. He has lied and cheated his way to the top seemingly without conscience. Perhaps there’s some mental illness going on there, perhaps it’s simply an ego that was so big, no one, not even Armstrong could control. And then of course there’s the power and money thing. When people are making a lot of money off of others, they want that meal ticket to keep providing, so there are plenty of greedy folks willing to help keep a lie alive in order to keep their wallet filled.
But again, it’s about second chances. I’m terribly disappointed to see someone that I admired turn out to be nothing but a great big faker. However, we can’t forget that his LiveStrong organization has raised an enormous amount of money for cancer. I can’t take that away from him nor can anyone else. So out of all of this, there was something positive. Perhaps that was the one truth in his life that kept him justifying all of the other stuff.
I hope he moves on, gets the counseling he needs and is able to somehow make things right with his fans, sponsors, coaches and teammates and most important, his family.
I know that if this were my son, I would hope that he would be given a second chance. But that’s a mother speaking, not those that have lost millions by his lies. Though at the end of the day, what’s more important, a life or money? I know what I think, what about you?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!