Events of the last few weeks, months, years have been weighing heavily on my mind. It bothers me when people’s views on certain topics come between them. I’ve had so many times where the politics have been so divisive that friends who have had so much in common either can’t talk in a civil manner, or just choose not to talk at all. I often find myself not saying anything because don’t want to deal with angry comments on either side of the issues.
Am I talking about the Presidential Election? Immigration policy? The ongoing budget/tax cut battles? Nope. I’m talking about the Lance Armstrong doping case that has been going on for quite some time, but has come to a head in the last few weeks. To some he’s a hero. To others, he’s a cheat. In cycling circles, there is virtually nothing between the two extremes.
As usual, I’m so far outside the box, that I find myself right smack in the middle of the two extremes. I’m not here to talk about what I think on the topic. I’m going to try to get y’all to talk about it in your own lives and with your own friends. More than talk, I wholeheartedly encourage you to listen. That’s something that we tend to lose so much.
It wasn’t so long ago that I was so far to the extreme of the “Lance is evil” camp that I couldn’t listen. What changed? I had a shakabuku, the swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever. I had a 90 second talk one day with a friend in the bike room at work. It was just the right amount of time for me to realize that I needed to change. It wasn’t anything that my friend said… but my reaction to what he said. He’s someone I respect immensely.. and his views were so different from mine, that I couldn’t help receive the cycling equivalent of a shakabuku. I needed to spend more time listening and a lot less time thinking about right and wrong… black and white.
Bottom line: The years of negativity that I’ve had about Lance, the way he treated other people and the sport of cycling were really not at all different from the people I know who have just as ardently believed in his innocence and great works for cycling and those who suffer from cancer. Seeing things only as black or white helps no-one. Nothing worth being passionate about is every good to see in only black and white. The joy is in the details…. The meeting of minds… the process of adding complexity to ones views and lives.
Where do we go from here? I know what I’m doing. I’m going to find some people that I know and love and listen to what they have to say. I’ve been doing that for a few months now, since my initial shakabuku. It helps. Trust me.
If you’re cheering about the recent happenings in the case, then I urge you to go out to the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s web site and spend a little time there. Read some of the testimonials from people whose lives have changed dramatically from the things they do. Better yet, talk to a cancer survivor about the help they’ve received. Listen, learn and make it your own. I did.
If you steadfastly believe that Lance has been wronged and is a victim of a witch hunt, spend a little time reading Jonathan Vaughters’ recent editorial/confession in the New York Times, the article about Betsy Andreau in yesterday’s Washington Post or Paul Kimmage’s article in The Guardian this week and see how things look from the other side.
From there you do not walk away. Do not point fingers. Do not judge. Learn, live, love and go for a long bike ride!
Thanks for reading.
Lance Armstrong Foundation: http://www.livestrong.org/ Look everywhere, but specifically look at the Get Help, Take Action and What We Do links. This blog entry was another good place to start: http://blog.livestrong.org/2011/04/25/livestrong-program-testimonials/ Notice that I say “good place to start”. There are so many good resources for positive information here. Let this be the beginning of a journey to learning about the good and the healing that goes on… not just talking about healing bodies… but also minds, souls and families.
Jonathan Vaughters’ editorial in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/how-to-get-doping-out-of-sports.html?pagewanted=all
Washington Post article about Betsy Andreau and others: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/othersports/longtime-witness-against-lance-armstrong-finally-vindicated/2012/08/25/804ed02c-ef07-11e1-b829-786e028dccb3_story.html
Paul Kimmage’s editorial in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/26/cycling-clean-up?fb=optOut