Not Living Strong

I remember twelve years ago watching the TV and seeing a tearful Hansie Cronje (South Africa’s ex cricket captain) being remorseful for his actions that ultimately led to his downfall. Hansie, like most of my South African followers and friends at the time, was looked up to as an inspirational leader. I even recollect meeting Hansie in person once, reflecting on how easy it was to have a casual chat to him, like another friend you were speaking to; a humble being evoking the very qualities we admired him for. No doubt he paid for what he did, but at that moment I began to wonder why such high profile sports people and celebrities always seem to fall on the path of temptation.

I found the events surrounding the whole doping scandal with Lance Armstrong rather intriguing. As most admirers and followers would have felt, it was hardly believable to conceive that such a tenacious athlete had been brought down to a point that he was no more recognizable as that hero who battled his way through cancer in the most unexpected circumstances. While thinking about what has happened in recent days, there are some points that bothered me.

First, during all the years this apparent doping had been happening, all those ex team mates who spoke against Lance Armstrong were certainly happy to ride into the night being willing participants in this ‘sophisticated’ doping program at the time. No one was forcing them; at worst they could have walked out and reported on the matter (and maybe lost a few endorsement dollars on the way for a moment)…oh but I can see some people saying now that cycling authorities and journalists were aware of the doping and they tried to report it. This brings me to my next problem…the cycling authorities. If they had been aware as they say they were, for some odd reason they felt powerless to do anything. So Lance Armstrong and team were bigger than the sport to actually have any prevention of this doping system happening in the first place. I think it’s a joke. I will tread on a slightly more controversial path and suggest there is a conspiracy theory behind this.

Let’s be honest, most sports today are so commercialized that losing on major Benjamins pouring in would be detrimental to the future of the sport. As far as I remember, the Tour De France was not exactly known as the most delightful event to follow (with all due respect to passionate cyclists I might add). Perhaps the authorities knew what was really going on behind closed doors in the Lance Armstrong world. And when they knew they realized that Lance was on a winning streak, they felt this outcome would really benefit the event, and the sport as well. It was perhaps more magnificent that a man who survived a fatal bout of cancer would become such a champion of a major cycling event. Humans tend to identify with such comebacks and relate to such a persona who can inspire. So this outcome meant the Tour De France was going to receive major recognition and sponsorship dollars that would make it one of the marquee events in global sport, not just in cycling. So what if Lance and team were a little naughty with a few blood transfusions, the sport’s health was more important!

Now once Lance Armstrong left, the sport was healthy but was bound to lose some flavour with followers. Perhaps the authorities felt opening another Pandora’s box in the form of a 1000 page report and the banning of a high profile athlete would add some more spice to the sport and perhaps bring the interest back. Yes, this would be a dangerous step for the authorities to take. Imagine if Lance Armstrong decided to sue them for degradation of character…that would have been another ball game to go through.

Which then makes it rather more intriguing that Lance would decide not to contest the accusations. I am not sure I really believe that he lost his motivation to fight them. There’s more to this story which perhaps we are not really being told about. Perhaps Lance knows something else and is waiting for the right moment to pounce and make it known!

Then there is the issue of what Lance Armstrong’s cancer foundation has done for the good of cancer research and cancer funding. The problem I have with this is what aspiring kids, who see this situation, must be thinking. They might be confused because here you have this once victorious athlete accused of cheating, yet at the same time he did much great for mankind. In a kid’s world each would be thinking how could you punish someone who has done so much good, that it should forgive the sins of that very person’s one ‘misdemeanor’. So what kids could possibly interpret is that as they grow up, even if they did something wrong career wise, what matters is whether all the good they did overshadows one of their weakest moments. This is a dangerous precedent that could be set for future generations. I say dangerous because the process taken to catch such people and punishing them has become prolonged, with many legal ramifications on both sides, and no one wants to take the first punch for fear of creating a damaging situation that is not beneficial in the long run.

It’s even more dangerous having seen a notable business person such as ex Mckinsey CEO Rajat Gupta getting sentenced, yet most people were asking for more leeway because of his good deeds done for non profit and charitable organizations during his time before his insider trading misdeeds. The problem really is that people of such stature come to a position where the lines of power and their influence become blurry, and this is where I feel they knowingly or unknowingly take advantage to the extent that people can no longer identify between what’s right and what’s wrong. Associated people find that being a whistle blower could finish their careers, or most have their reputations being damaged by powerful forces beyond their control.

If there’s one book I remember, it’s Lance Armstrong’s It’s not about the bike. Well, I would say it definitely was not about the bike; but if there’s one thing that people should reflect on and perhaps Mr Armstrong himself should have, then it’s this: it’s about the values and the real inspiration you become for people who need it the most, even if it means going through a long and painful building process of getting there!

This is Funjabi Guy wishing you a great weekend and beyond! Be safe. Till next Friday.

All Rights Reserved- Copyright 2012
Disclaimer: The opinions in this piece are solely those of the author and in no way reflect any person, institution or theory, nor is the author associated with any specific publication or institution. This article is purely for entertainment and insightful purposes.


Perfect Timing!

That was just perfect timing! I often hear that phrase from a commentator during a cricket match. It’s that moment when a batsman, as they are known in the game, hits the cricket ball at the right moment. It’s also that moment when he knows everything is in sync, and all is going according to plan! That got me thinking about when we feel it’s the perfect timing in our lives.

We often daze and wonder when is it the perfect timing for a relationship, a successful career, or a decision that can have meaningful and long lasting impact for the future. As social beings we seem to struggle with this notion of perfect timing. As of now it’s something I don’t really seem to grasp quite well. Everyone I know well tells me that I’ll know when it’s the perfect time or the right time. It’s almost like the sixth sense or intuition takes over and screams at you that this is it!

But intuition and your sixth sense can be fallible, even giving you moments of pure ecstasy, and letting you down once some area in your life does not work according to plan. It’s really ironic that you probably think most about perfect timing when you feel it’s a time when not everything is perfect or according to your expectations. Some might say you need to change or lower your expectations. Others will say that it might just happen in a different manner, and it’s just not the right time now.

I have heard countless stories and experiences about partners or lovers meeting at a time when they were least expecting it or looking for it. It was their perfect timing moment! It amazes me how many times I hear this scenario leading to an outcome both parties did not really expect. Does this mean we in society over emphasize on the perfect moment or perfect time? I think today the media over plays on our emotions, especially in movies which depict how certain outcomes in life lead us to that ultimate moment when we feel everything is just right! Movies are an escape point I feel; they can sometimes realistically depict what happens in life, though these movies are mostly grossly over romanticized to give people that little bit of hope. I am not against media depicting such stories, but I feel caution be spent in how people match reality with the reel when it comes to deciding on the perfect time for all aspects of life.

It may be true that there will be a time in my life when I can say it’s the perfect timing and I will feel it. It may also be that I never reflect on it as perfect timing, just really a matter of coincidences coming together. I think I can say attaining perfect moments in our lives are seldom, purely because they are just so perfect for certain moments when we need them most in our lives, that they are rare and precious.

How does the Almighty or Higher Being play into this? That’s an entirely different debate I feel. Some can say he gives us complete free will, and we create circumstances that will allow us to perfectly time the arrival of something significant in our lives. Others have a mixed opinion, believing it’s a result of both His timing and some of our actions. I really can’t say what it is for sure. I believe He has control over certain aspects and we must just learn to go with the flow, not fight it. It can be difficult for those who need to feel control in their lives…sometimes the perfect outcomes just seem to happen when we least fight it and let outcomes happen as they are meant to be.

Life is very strange indeed…I won’t be surprised if I am next writing about that great partner I met, or that great career I am in, and I just happen to accidentally mention it was PERFECT TIMING!

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