I believed Lance

Probably most of us have heard what happened to cycling legend, Lance Armstrong. After winning 7 Tour de France titles, he has lost everything from his prized yellow jackets (given to the winner of the tour), to his million dollar sponsors, to his national platform for speaking out on behalf of cancer survivors. All of it has been taken away because Lance took drugs, and then lied.

 

And he lied, a lot.

 

Up until it became clear that he was going to confess, on national TV, that he had been lying about drug use, I was one of those guys who believed Lance was telling the truth when he denied his drug use previously. I have followed his career with some mild obsession and watched how many times he looked reporters, cameras, cancer patients and children, right in the eyes, and said plainly, “I have not used drugs.”

Lance Armstrong

A lot of pro athletes use drugs, and when confronted you get “I’ve never tested positive” which is code for, “I’m still getting away with it.” Or they’ll say, “I’ve never used drugs” but the massive changes in their bodies betray their words. And the, “No comment” is a legally protective away of saying, “Of course I used drugs and their is no way I’m about it admit to you!”

 

But Lance stared us down and didn’t flinch. His story never changed. He destroyed a lot of people to keep his reputation in tact. He lost friendships. he threw a lot of people under the bus and because of his tenacity for defending himself, and the high price he was paying, I believed he was telling us the truth.

 

As I evaluate the situation with Lance, I realize I believed him because I so desperately want to believe that greatness doesn’t demand personal or moral compromise. I want to see a person like Lance Armstrong make it because I want to see the good guy win. I want to see the hard working, personal sacrificing athlete prove that you can be the very best, and not give up on who you really are. You can win without cheating.

 

Thankfully, even though Lance wasn’t one of those guys, there are still others. There are other athletes who were/are great, and didn’t cheat. People who are great in what they do, and who don’t compromise to get there. Guys like Ken Griffy Jr, Larry Bird, Cal Ripken Jr, Phil Mickelson & Bo Jackson were all top-tier athletes — heroes of their sports — and all of them did it right. They played hard, became the best, and didn’t compromise their own character or morality to get there. While I so desperately wanted Lance to be one of those guys, I’m thankful that we still have others to look to.

 

But even more importantly, each of us has a chance to live our lives with integrity. In fact, you can’t truly live the Overboard Life without it. I think the problem Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Roger Clements and others have faced has been simple: They chose “greatness” over character, not realizing that true greatness emerges from great character. When the day comes and we leave this earth, people will best remember who we were, not what we did. If you compromise to achieve perceived greatness, you will buried with an asterisk by your name — your “greatness” will always be devalued.

 

I don’t just want to “Live Strong”, I want to finish strong. Like the Apostle Paul, I hope to get to the end of my race and be able to say, “I fought the good fight, I finished the race.” And because I don’t know when my race will end, I have to live with integrity every day.

 

Jumping out of the comfort of the boat, and walking on the water where Jesus is, takes courage. It takes a special kind of character. A great life can be made when you follow after Christ, and that can only happen when you live with integrity. I don’t want to take any more short cuts. I don’t want to compromise any of my values. May God help us all finish strong!

 

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water!

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10 Responses to I believed Lance

  1. Innovative Graphics says:

    This was perfect timing. We had to deal with a situation yesterday for Harmony Acres and let a couple go. Integrity is important. The kiddos we are dealing with have been hurt so many times. Unkept promises… We can not have staff that does that. It was a great learning experience and adds strength to our leadership. But. Hard in other ways.

    Tamara

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Barbara Hall says:

    You got it right. It is disappointing to see others make the wrong choices but with God’s help we can choose to live as He would have us to….not that we won’t stumble once in a while but that our goal is to follow Him. So we’ll repent (the opposite of lying to cover it up) and ask His help to stay on the right path. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • joeacast says:

      Aunt Barbara…what a great comment. Thanks for sharing those thoughts, and thanks for reading! And when are we going to take another traveling adventure together? After braving Hezekiah’s tunnel, I think we’re ready for Egyptian pyramids or something fun like that!

  3. Dorothy Castaneda says:

    I have been pondering this since I read it, and what I see is that we use “great” people of today as role models, huge role models; name our kids after them, train them to look like them and dress them like these “great”people. Not that this mind set is always wrong, but maybe our focus for ourselves, and our kids should be rather the “great” people of the Bible. Maybe we need to remind ourselves and our kiddlets that there were some really great people. And, like the “great” people of today, most of them committed huge sins. But, look at Moses, for goodness sake. God himself buried him and to this day, no one knows where he is buried. In the end times, if I read Daniel right, the good and bad angels will fight over his bones. I would consider him a “great” person in God’s hall of fame. Then King David was a huge “great” man, but look at his sins, not just one, but several. Then Aaron, talk about lies, ” the gold went into the fire and came out a calf”. The whole idea is that the people repented and God called them great. Lance could repent ( spiritually speaking, not just say he is sorry to his fans), but truly repent. God will forgive him, and he could turn his life around and still be considered a “great” person in modern times. We look up to people like Lance, and take a huge fall when they do what he did. We look up to God, and He never fails us. Just Mom’s mumblings. Love you, Joe.

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