Integrity, Lance Armstrong, and Me

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I've never been a big fan of Lance Armstrong. I think I've watched part of the Tour de France once (not counting PeeWee Herman's dream sequence). I wasn't favorably impressed that he left his wife and immediately took up with Sheryl Crow, and then left her the same month she had breast cancer surgery (though apparently it was her biological clock that split them up). I was glad he beat his own cancer ordeal and could appreciate that he worked hard, trained hard, and that he endured all those races and won. All of that said, he isn't big on my radar.

Today's announcement though that he's decided to quit fighting against the doping charges (which it appears pretty certain he's guilty of) and now they're talking about stripping him of all his titles (though apparently the second place winners have already been convicted of doping themselves) - makes me wonder.

How did we get to the place where athletic accomplishment takes on so much importance that the participants decide they must "dope" so as to "win"? From bicycling, to baseball, to running - winning seems to have become more important than personal integrity.

I do not blame the athletes. I blame myself. What I "reward" is what will be promoted.

Integrity is a value to be taught, cherished, and protected. It is up to me to live my life in such a way that it demonstrates integrity to be more important than performance. While integrity does not always follow good performance, I believe good performance (though maybe not perfect) will always follow integrity.

I am truly sorry about Lance Armstrong. I'm sorry if he felt the need to use performance enhancing drugs (as apparently do the rest of the people in this sport). I'm sorry his record will always be tarnished. I'm sorry he will lose all that he's worked for.

I do think we should always be working to "win" at anything we set out to do. But not at the cost of our integrity. It isn't worth it.

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