Saturday, August 2, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #187, July 28, 2008

On the Tunney Side of the Street #187 July 28, 2008

After Further Review .... “When are these idiots going to learn? They continue to think they can beat the system. They’re wrong,” said Pat McQuaid, International Cycling Union Leader. McQuaid was referring to cyclist racer Manuel Beltran, who tested positive for EPO – the performance enhancement drug. Beltran was instantly kicked out of the Tour de France and suspended by his T.E.A.M.

Beltran, who rode alongside Lance Armstrong as one of the U.S. Postal Cyclists for 3 years, is not alone. Three of his teammates, all former Postal riders during Armstrong’s seven Tour victories, also failed doping tests. Italy’s Riccardo Ricco, winner of two stages in the 2008 Tour, tested positive after the fourth stage and was busted. What part of the word T.E.A.M. don’t these “idiots” understand? How can they believe they can “beat the system?”

Michael Rasmussen, Iban Mayo, and Floyd Landis, have either been “kicked out,” stripped of their racing titles, and/or tested positive. Moises Deunas Nevado, a 27 year old Spaniard who was 19th overall after the 4th stage, was ousted when the “lure of glory” seemed to be stronger than just doing the right thing. But let’s not focus solely on Tour de France racing.

For “beating the system,” let’s start with former NBA Referee, Tim Donaghy, who pleaded guilty to a scandal involving betting on NBA games he officiated. Where does loyalty to your T.E.A.M. come into play? Plenty has been said about the NFL’s Michael Vick and Adam (Pacman) Jones trying to beat the system. And let’s not leave out former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, now serving a 6-month prison sentence for using EPO, then lying about it to the Feds. The question is: if you think you can “beat the system,” but run the risk of NOT, would it ever occur to you that you not only put yourself in harm’s way, but also your colleagues, friends - and your family!

On a personal note, I was always concerned (“afraid” is a more apt word) that stepping over that line would embarrass my family and the good name they had established. In my book, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill” dedicated to Coach Herm Edwards’ parents, Herman Sr., cautioned Herm by saying “Son, I can’t give you lots of money or a fancy home, but I can give you a good name. Use it wisely.” Herm has.

“Use it wisely” – can we tell them that -- not just athletes who make, or stand to make, a lot of money, but especially kids – either ones in our family or the ones we coach?

Will you live up to the Edwards’ code that says “Just do the right thing?”

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