I've never gotten too caught up in hailing sports starts as personal idols, ( Although watching Pete Rose play when I was a kid was inspirational ) but it was hard not to follow the life and times of Lance Armstrong. Personally, his story of beating cancer and successfully returning to a highly competitive sport inspired me to take up cycling in the first place.
The use of steroids appalls me considering the health risks known to exist, for any athlete. My take is if you cant do it right you were not meant to do it. If you do it wrong you are a cheater.
All that being said, Pete Rose admitted his gambling ( though only to the extent of betting on his team to win ) and deserves to be honored for his accomplishments on the field as they were not enhanced by cheating, Lance has NOT admitted anything, in fact still vehemently denies ( as did Pete ) the accusations against him. Guess time will tell if the powers that be will take away his accomplishments due to allegations or if it will take a bit more "facts" to wipe his name off the books.
My personal take is we are all human and make mistakes so in the long run who really cares. I know that Lance's story up until recently inspired me to "get on my bike and ride." Doesn't mean I idolize him though. I think that is where the danger lies. If people who are first inspired by another is willing to "do anything" in order to be like them, then they are destined to lose themselves to the "anything" that will "improve" them
Rare is the talented man that can be gifted both on an off the field. Sometimes though that gift doesn't necessarily mean winning. The best quarterback I have ever seen play football holds most of the records a quarterback doesn't want. Starting quarterback with the worst record ect yet no one really knows just how good he really was, and as time has passed fewer still remember.
Yet this man was and still is a star. One day I happened to be at an airport walking out to an airplane and I spotted him. He was with all the local suits, but he spotted a little boy standing off to the side. I got to watch him excuse himself for a minute, walk over and shake the hand of that little boy. Spoke to him a minute, then went back and fulfilled his obligations with the suits, but as he boarded the airplane he turned back to wave to that little boy.
He never even got a whiff of a team that even had a chance at a Super Bowl. For him it wasn't meant to be, but it turns out his three boys weren't so bad at football either. Health took one of them out of the game, but the other two both now have Super Bowl rings as quarterbacks. Put dad in his prime with either team and you would be talking about a history making dynasty. Good guys can do well, but sometimes it comes in ways we don't expect.
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