This is a running blog but I like to think that I can broaden it out to sport in general and how it effects my family, my children especially. I want my children to be involved in sport because I want them to be fit and healthy. I also want them to learn about teamwork and respect. I also want them to learn about fair play, how to play fairly against and alongside others and to know that cheating is only cheating yourself. Unless you’re Lance Armstrong.
When the allegations exploded recently I really hoped that they weren’t true. I really hoped that this legend of a sportsman wasn’t just that: a totally made up myth, constructed by the drugs and cycling businesses. But it turns out that is exactly what he is. This cheat has made millions and millions from doping and accepting accolades that he does not deserve. In fact in 2005 he flew his children in to France to help him lift his trophy at the end of the tour.
Wow. Just wow. This man went low enough as to allow his children to be part of his charade. He allowed his children to believe that he was this all conquering worthy champion while all the time he was doped up to the eye balls. Well as a fellow parent I have some questions for Lance Armstrong:
When one of your children comes home upset that another child cheated at a game what will your honest advice be? That cheaters never prosper? Ha, well you proved that one wrong didn’t you. Here was I thinking I could teach my kids that you only cheat yourself if you cheat but now I can teach them that you can profit from people’s misplaced faith and admiration.
One of your children comes home and complains that the coach of the team is also the father of one of the other kids. This father is showing favouritism and selecting their own kid even though their kid isn’t as good enough. What will you do? Complain to the Coach/Dad? Say it’s not fair? How can you? You endorse cheating and that there is cheating. Your kid will have to suck it up and deal with the unfairness of it all, the unfairness being that they will never be picked no matter how good they are.
When your child hasn’t worked hard enough at school and is worried that they might fail a test what will you do? Help them study last minute so they pass and hopefully instil the ethic that hard work and graft provide just rewards? Or will you buy the exam questions? Buy the exam board? Sit the exam for them?
When your child is offered drugs that could enhance their performance in a sport but could also cause them serious long term harm and prevent clean athletes from their rightful podium place, what will you say? This drug will help them to win but could also cause side effects such as heart disease, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis and other potential unknown maladies. Will you encourage them to dope as you did so willingly?
Lance Armstrong maybe a father but I’m not sure he’s taught his children anything worthwhile. I honestly feel sorry for his children because they will learn that their father is a cheat and that nobody likes a cheat. They will learn the extent of what he has done and I really hope that one day he will look into their eyes and see disappointment sitting there because that is what he has become for so many people. A great big cheating disappointment. But then again he has probably taught them that there’s no point in working hard at anything because there’s always a way to cheat the system. You’ve cheated your own kids Lance, well done.
The British cyclist Nicole Cook retired today. A clean athlete who rejected drugs when offered and went on to become Olympic champion. It can be done. She is a true inspiration, the real deal. She left a statement on her website and I think she sums things up perfectly here:
‘When Lance “cries” on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward – just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.’
I will continue to teach my children the importance of playing fair whether that’s on the field, track or at the kitchen table with a game. Because I still believe the glory of winning is in knowing that you did it fair and square.