As you sow, so shall you reap…

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn no other way.
~Mark Twain

When I was very young, I learned a great lesson about electricity. I picked up a metal hair clip, squeezed it open and inserted the two ends into an outlet. The shock sent me fly across the room. And so, I learned that metal is a conductor of electricity.

I remember reading Keats in while I was in high school and one quote in particular has stuck with me these many years since. He said “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.” I suppose I am a “learn by doing” type of person. Just because someone says a pan is hot doesn’t make it so until I touch it. It’s not really raining until I open the door and stick my head out and it comes back wet.

The up side of this trait is my unfailing belief in the human race. I believe in my heart of hearts that people are inherently good and fair and it takes a lot for me to lose faith in someone. Not that I expect perfection; I’m not sure I could recognize perfection if I saw it. I’m a realist and I believe the scripture “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I’ve fallen so many times I have permanent bruises on my knees.

A couple of years ago, I was playing an online game of solitaire and noticed the following post that someone had left.

“956, 590 points…a new high score!”

Seeing how my high score was maybe a fifth of that, I was intrigued and watched to see if more posts appeared, to find out how he did it.

Another player was intrigued as well, and asked that very question. His response? He used Solitaire Cheats. He actually played the game using the “cheat codes”. He even listed the link, so other players could try it.

Really?? I mean, it’s just solitaire!

Remember when solitaire was just you and a deck of cards. The challenge for me as a child was two-fold: finding a deck of cards that had all 52 cards in it and getting through a game without someone walking through the room and telling me, “Hey you can play that 8 on that 9.”

Solitaire…with cheat codes…how sad.

But I do believe that most people aren’t out to get ahead in life by cheating their way to the top. Someone would have to go a long way to convince me otherwise.

But this thing with Lance Armstrong shook me.

The story of Lance Armstrong and his confession to Oprah about his use of performance enhancing drugs is a hot topic on any news network. The fact that Armstrong was accused and denied the use for years doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I mean if you’re going to cheat what are few more lies tossed in on top of it?

No, to me, sadly enough, this has become commonplace for some of our highest decorated and celebrated athletes.

The part that leaves me scratching my head is the way Armstrong vehemently attacked his accusers. He didn’t simply deny his wrong doing; he went after those crusaders of truth and did everything to destroy their credibility as well.

And to what end? Is not the satisfaction of a job well done, whether or not you win, enough? When did a “win at any cost” replace honor and sportsmanship?

I was reminded of the movie Cool Runnings, in which John Candy portrays the character Irv Blitzer, coach of the Jamaican Bobsled Team. In the movie, it’s revealed that Blitzer, when he had been an athlete, had cheated to win, causing both him and his team members to be stripped of their Olympic medals. When asked by one of the current team members, Derice Bannock, why he did it, here’s what he had to say:

Blitzer: “It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see I had made winning my whole life and when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. Understand?”

Derice Bannock:  “No I don’t understand. You won two gold medals. You had it all.”

Blitzer: “Derice a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”

I still believe the majority of athletes are respectable men and women who excel at their sports because of hard work and dedication. I have the utmost respect for those disciplined individuals who strife to do their best each day simple for the love of the competition. I have to believe that or I would never watch another sporting event again.

How sad for Lance Armstrong and the world he created in his mind. He certainly missed out on a much better one.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it
~Adolf Hitler


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