“Coming clean…”?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS   January 21, 2013 # 420   Next up….”Coming clean….”?

After further review… Lance Armstrong’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) was to be an admission by Armstrong of his performance-enhancing drug (PED) use. Was it? “It was pretty forthcoming, but he did not come clean in the manner expected”, said Winfrey following the 2-1/2 hour session. Was Oprah expecting too much?

Armstrong’s choice of the Winfrey show to “admit” his use of PED’s was as self-serving as LeBron James announcing in a 2010 media event staged on ESPN that he was taking his  talents to South Beach. Much different in content and magnitude, of course; but why wouldn’t James just make the switch without the bombast? And why didn’t Armstrong simply “come clean” to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) or the International Racing Association?

 While the use of PEDs in any sport is cheating, Armstrong’s incessant, arrogant denials and the way he bullied fellow cyclists, their wives, and the media constituted his strategy of attacking the truth seekers to preserve his virtuous reputation. Armstrong cheated himself, his sport, and all those who found inspiration in his battle against testicular cancer, including many who work so endlessly for his LIVESTRONG Foundation (www.livestrong.org). How do we best communicate, especially to kids, the value of being truthful and the damage done by cheating?

In the summer following my sixteenth birthday I was granted use of the family car to go on a date with my father’s strong admonition to “Be home by 11:00PM!” I knew what he meant. Time seemed to speed up that evening and as I rolled into our driveway with the motor off just before midnight, I knew I was in trouble. Tiptoeing across our kitchen floor, I heard the San Gabriel Mission bells chiming: Bong! (10), Bong! (11), and Bong! (12). Dad was sound asleep and snoring as loud as the bells, but Mom called out, “Jimmy, is that you”? “Yeah, Ma it is”, I replied with my heart in my throat. “Was that the mission bell chiming twelve” she asked from her back bedroom? Swallowing hard, I said, “Yeah, Ma, it was”.                 I waited… and then she said, “Aw, go onto bed. Those bells haven’t been on time for years”.             Whew! That lesson about being honest and earning trust has never left me.

Will your truthfulness help you live the life you expect of yourself?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com

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