Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Forgive me, Oprah, for I have sinned ...

I was shocked when Lance Armstrong was proven to have cheated and lied about his competitions.

However, I was unsurprised when Lance Armstrong admitted it to Oprah. Why else would he bother to appear? What is wrong with things when winning a sporting event is worth all that lying, cheating and trouble?

I know, I know, it's the way things are. Of course, that's part of our larger problem when we accept that such is the way of the world.

I was reading this morning in the WSJ how Armstrong's private defense until this point was roughly, "Every other pro sports discipline cheats."

I hadn't really thought about him until then but that was when I realized how immature Armstrong was, without a real moral compass, or possibly so confused by the unreal world he's inhabited for so long that he doesn't know which side is up any more? (And then I think of poor Tony Scott with all that the world counts precious who killed himself last year ... there are a lot of people who've been lied to about fame and fortune.)

It's been put into context because I've been listening to The Two Towers, the middle book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I am just at the part where Gandalf talks to Saruman after the Ents destroyed Isengard. Their exchange makes me think of this whole situation, especially since I just heard the part where Tolkien remarks that Saruman's voice was so beautiful that people would be charmed. Then when they repeated his words later they would realize that they were very ordinary. It was his voice that was so compelling.
Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwearily to that voice could seldom report the words that they had heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to see wise themselves. When others spoke, they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell.
There is an awful lot in The Lord of the Rings about deceit and it's subtle ways that I find myself applying to my own life. Where do I rationalize and listen to the compelling argument because it is what I want to hear rather than what is actually true? We all do it. That's how we recognize it in the book and understand Saruman's power so well.

I feel sorry for Lance Armstrong. I pity him, rather like Gollum, addicted to his fame (his precious). How will he live without it? By crawling after it if he must ... poor fellow. Let's keep him in our prayers.


  1. It's hard for me to respect someone using the forum of popular media, particularly the one mentioned to make their 'confession.' First he's confessing to something already known, proven which make it more acquiescence than confession. Second in choosing the media he did he once again surrenders to his inner-Gollum of fame seeking. We've seen it before. 'Confession' propelling an otherwise dying or damaged career to new heights (or new lows depending on how on sees it).

    I commute by bike year round in all kinds of weather. There are many like me. Hardly any of us pay any attention at all (in my case no attention at all) to "pro" sport cyclists of which Mr. Armstrong is one of the worst examples.

  2. Yes, it does become a spectacle. I do plan on praying for him. What an example God made of him. His testicular cancer had spread to his brain and lungs. He came back and did a lot of good with his success and 2nd chance at life. Sometimes people need 3rd chances. God bless him. I mean, God bless him, again.

  3. I pray that God will keep my children poor and obscure. It sure seems easier.

  4. What a great comparison, Armstrong with Gollom! That is so apropos. Brilliant. Armstrong has really fallen in my eyes too. And confessing on Oprah probably just makes it worse.