It’s so sad that people like Betsy Andreu and her husband can leave Lance Armstrong’s team, but they can’t leave it alone.
It disappoints me that someone like Lance who has accomplished such enormous good in this world can’t just be left alone to continue as the Savior of cancer survivors that he is. Why the anger and hostility directed at him? Clearly people don’t understand his higher mission.
This recent clarification of Lance’s history shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. I knew sordid details of Lance’s past years ago and it never bothered me. All great men are always colorful figures. It makes me appreciate and admire him even more.
I’m not sure what might have lead some weaker followers to expect perfection out of him. That certainly wasn’t the plan or his claim. Some things that are true are not very useful.
My testimony of Lance Armstrong is based on the tender witness that I received while on a 100 mile bike ride for cancer. It changed my life and nothing will ever be able to shake me from that foundation. It has changed my life for the better.
Obviously, Betsy Andreu doesn’t understand what our sports leaders have clearly outlined for us:
“Remember: when you see the bitter ex teammate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness. Do not spread disease germs.”
No. Betsy has instead spread the germs of bitterness and discontent on television. Unfortunately she has missed the clear distinction between this Armstrong controversy and the efforts of his Livestrong charity which does so much good. Contributions to the charity actually have increased this year despite the Armstrong controversy. That obviously points to the goodness of Lance’s heart and the importance of his work.
Suggestions for Study and Teaching
Consider these ideas as you study this post or as you prepare to teach Family Home Evening.
- Why do you think people can change from fan to critic in such a short time? What are some influences that cause people to set team loyalty aside today? What can we do to guard against such influences?
- What are some dangers of losing confidence in our sports heroes and criticizing them? What can we do to maintain a feeling of respect and appreciation for our philanthropic leaders? How can parents encourage their children to respect Lance?
- Lance taught, “The moment you permit yourselves to lay aside any duty that the team calls you to perform, to gratify your own desires … , you lay a foundation for leaving it” What does this statement mean to you?
- Read the following story told by Frankie Andreu. Why do you think that those who leave Lance’s team often fight so strongly against it? How do you think we should respond to the words and actions of such people?
Frankie Andreu recalled: “Soon after Lance’s arrival in France, Tyler Hamilton and myself made him a visit at his residence. His persecutions were the topic of conversation. He repeated many false, inconsistent and contradictory statements made by former teammates, frightened competitors and sports enthusiasts in general. He also told how most of the officials who would fain have taken his life, when he was arrested, turned in his favor on forming his acquaintance. He laid the burden of the blame on false brethren. …
“When Lance had ended telling how he had been treated, a teammate remarked: ‘If I should leave this team I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Lance had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.’
The great Lance immediately replied: ‘Tyler, you don’t know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this team you stood on neutral ground. When the doping was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this team you enlisted to serve cycling. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the team you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.’
- Read comments by Emma O’Reilly, a former part masseuse and part personal assistant to Armstrong. Why is it important for us to understand and use this “key” given by Lance?
“I have heard Lance speak in public on many occasions. In one meeting I heard him say: ‘I will give you a key that will never rust,—if you will stay with the majority of the team, and the records of the cycling federation, you will never be led astray.’ The history of cycling has proven this to be true.” -Emma O’Reilly
Lance taught the importance of sustaining our team leaders:
“That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the team, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, … that man is in the high road to leaving it.”