You know the saying “walk a mile in their shoes”? It’s usually said when someone is overheard judging someone else – and it comes out – “well, I guess you’d have to walk a mile in their shoes to really know” or some variation that is similar. I feel very strongly about this with the recent developments with Lance Armstrong. I don’t find myself judging him, in fact, I find myself thanking God I have never been put in that type of situation where my morality would be so tested!
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a Lance Armstrong supporter. I usually hold my support for those I’ve sat down and have broken bread with – and, well, Lance and I just run in different circles. I actually feel very indifferent towards the whole Lance thing. I am a little put off, though, by folks who claim they could never do what he did. Let me give you the quick run down of what he did:
1. Started Professional Cycling.
2. Found out to compete in professional cycling you would have to do Performance Enhancing Drugs and Lie.
3. Made decision to do Performance Enhancing Drugs and to lie.
4. Made a crap ton of money.
5. Destroyed peoples lives to continue to make a crap ton of money.
6. Got Cancer.
7. Decided to fight cancer and use his money and notoriety to start a widely successful Cancer Foundation.
8. Uses influence and motivation t0 help save untold lives through his foundation.
9. Finally admitted to cheating and lying on Oprah.
Did that pretty much sum it up? For the most part…
To be perfectly honest – if I was put in Lance Armstrong shoes – I can’t tell you that I wouldn’t do the same thing. I could lie to you and tell you I would never do that, but I’m thankful to never have been put in that situation. 99.99% of us will never have our morality tested like this – be thankful, not judgmental. Remember the movie The Good Son? Average movie, one great scene – Mom at the end, hanging over a cliff, hanging on to her two sons from falling to their certain death, one by each arm. If she holds onto both – both will eventually slip from her grasp and fall to their death. She has to let one drop and save one. Which one? As a parent, I would rather die myself than to have to make that decision – most parents would. Thankfully most of us will never be tested like that. Lance was tested. He failed.
You can almost see his thought process of justification: did something really bad – foundation will make up for bad stuff. Fortunately, again, I’m glad to not have to live my life being judged on one decision I made, deciding my fate for the rest of my life, no matter what other decisions I’ve made since. I wonder if Lance ever would have done anything good – if he never got cancer!? He never gets cancer, you never have the LiveStrong foundation. There’s no argument on this guy. He’s just bad. (oh, boy that’s a whole other post!)
I can’t imagine how long of a mile it must be to walk in Armstrong’s shoes – or even bike it! I pray I never have to know.
I agree that Lance Armstrong is being judged very harshly for his mistakes, and I am also glad that I didn’t have to make his decision.
BUT – I disagree that choosing one life to try to save another is anything like the choice Armstrong made. I didn’t see The Good Son, but it reminds me of the William Styron book “Sophie’s Choice”, where Sophie had to choose one child for the Nazis to shoot, or they would shoot both.
Armstrong, on the other hand, chose to do something illegal, then continually lied about it, in order to make money and achieve fame. Now he is using his money to do good, so the way he got it should be ignored? This sounds more like The Godfather Part III.
Choosing one life over another when the choice is forced upon you by evil circumstances just isn’t the same as getting rich and famous by dubious means and then overlooking the method when you start using the money for good.
Thanks for the clarification. I also have close experience where attitude made a huge difference.
I get your push! Here’s what I’ll say about #8 – I know individuals who have survived cancer personally, who have told me that Armstrong had an impact on them in their recovery. That I know. I’ve also read many stories from cancer survivors who have shared that LiveStrong had a major impact on their recovery.
I do not have a study/data for #8 – I don’t feel I really need one,
Is there any data that proves your Point #8? All I know about his foundation is that it raised $ for research, I’d never heard that it saved lives.