By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Inauguration of forgiveness and hypocrisy


I like to ride my bicycle. (reminds me of an 80’s tune ...)

And sometimes, once a year, I will ride 150 miles in two days in the MS 150 Ride. I am slow. Often bugs on the road pass me when I try to peddle up hill. I keep peddling on. And I finish each mile, on my own without any enhancements other than a great play list and butt crème.

But I don’t win, nor do I guess I want to.

It must take more effort than I am willing to give to win races riding a bike. So much so, that a champion rider took great steps, even receiving blood transfusions in the middle of races, to continue to win.

Lance Armstrong is not the first athletic hero to fall to the desire to want more. Not the first to lie about what he was willing to do and was doing to get there. Not the first public figure to come to us and ask for forgiveness. And, sports fans, Armstrong will not be the last.

The chatter is Armstrong will be more difficult to forgive. I frown upon one person or ill being more tough to accept than another. Sure, there are horrific acts done by people to children, to loved ones, to countries, and sometimes, they are not forgiven. But there are extraordinary stories of grace winning over the evil deed.

To assume the misjudgment of an athlete is more heinous than murder or treason is a bit too 21st century for me. He wanted to win. That’s it. I’m not saying I have forgiven him, but he has done nothing against me as a person, just lied to me as a sports fan. So, I don’t know if he needs my forgiveness.

Yet, he sits on a coach on national television and asked all of us for it.

After he has claimed over the years how imperialistic his training and performance was. How cancer and the treatment to cure him could not even stop his will to win. That he was better than most and that is why he won so much, not because of any “help.”

That lip service is a slap in the face, to a mother of a child who has future athletic dreams. Armstrong skipped over the sacrifices athletes make to be noticed, and chose to sanctimoniously get ahead.

Most of the sting from this is that he lied to everyone, most importantly himself. He made history with his Tour de France wins, with uncommon and unethical help, and made kids who dream of riding think they can do that well on their own. But most athletes rely on their performance and sacrifice to win on their own. And some fail.

Are we all hypocrites when we say we “do it on our own?” Don’t we all get a little help from some type of enhancement in our daily lives?

I closely followed the argument some golf analysis made in relation to Tiger Woods shoulder surgery. Did he need it? Didn’t it make his performance “enhanced?” Where will sports draw the line or let others in?

When South African runner Oscar Pistorius wanted to compete in the Olympics, he was accosted about having prosthetic legs to “get ahead” and not just to be able to run. What is the difference between a required tool and a surgery that is elective but also might help a golfers swing.

That might be a continued conversation for sports. And where will it end? What about laser surgery for better vision. Or braces for knees and wrists? Is that enhancement? I’m not an advocate for doping or getting ahead by means that no one else is ethically able to use. I just wonder if and when everyone will take a “transfusion bus” in between stages or quarters. Or if athletes will begin to elect to have surgeries for the win and not for their health.

Armstrong is now asking the authorities to let him compete again, in triathlons. He is asking for forgiveness so he can try again, supposedly on his own.

The country this weekend watched as our second term President was ceremoniously sworn in. He is asking for forgiveness from some and a second chance from us all. With our votes in November, we already gave him another chance. What he does with it and our country is yet to be seen.

Essentially, everyday, we are faced with hypocrisy. In our work, our country, and our past-times. It is our choice to forgive, to get back on the bicycle and swear to another chance. It is difficult to forgive. It is difficult to be lied to. But just like peddling a bike up hill, it’s better to keep moving than to slide backwards. There’s a reason you got on the bike in the first place.


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