Good morning. I hope it's lovely in Austin. You should head to Vintage Heart over on the east side for a cuppa coffee and read my letter from there.
Now that you are comfy, read on...
As I packed lunch for my boys and poured coffee for myself, there it was on the news, Lance Armstrong speaks to Oprah and an inside source shares that he confesses to doping. Eyes up from the table, away from their breakfast and straight at the screen -- Momma, is that true? I thought he didn't cheat. He said he didn't. Did he?
Grace and Redemption, Grace and Redemption were the words that rang in my mind, as I tried to find the lesson and words to share with my boys. Instead of answering, I said, hurry we have to leave in 5 minutes; your feet need socks & shoes and your teeth need to be cleaned. Come on fellas, hurry up.
You see Mr. Armstrong these are my boys. This first photo is the morning of their first triathlon in 2011
and this one below, it's after a race this past summer. Their second season they had the opportunity to be part of a team, kits and all. They rode real bikes, not the Walmart bikes they'd ridden the year prior and had a coach and practiced. Race after race they preformed better, even standing on the podium multiple times. Chas even qualified for IronKids Nationals! They understand the importance of the way we treat our bodies, training and have used your friend, Alan Lim's cookbook The Feed Zone as a guide for properly fueling their bodies to preform best.
We talk often about owning our _________ (race, game, grades, attitude). If you have a bad game and the refs made a few crummy calls, we don't blame them. We own it. When we throw up in transition, we don't blame the lake water, we own it. When we fail to study for an exam and our grade reflects our lack of preparation, we own it. Life isn't a blame game, it's a learning game.
This doesn't go just for our kids, but as parents too. When I missed my goal time in a Galveston by a couple of minutes & the temperatures were soaring on the tarmac, I owned it. I may have been beat by the heat, but I'd not prepared properly for those conditions. The fault of the weather? Nope. The fault of my coach? Nope. My fault? Yup. (By the way, I was the who waved at you as you rode the other direction by the gulf. Kidding, I didn't wave, but I did see you.)
So, thank you for finally owning your decisions.
After teeth were cleaned and feet covered, we headed to school and had a great conversation. We talked about owning our outcomes and not cheating to get there. Elliott, my older son had a really great question,
Why did they say on the news that it was the age of doping?
Want to answer that one? That led to the topic of peer pressure and then another question was asked about you, Why did he give in? Mr. Armstrong, I didn't know the answer. I chose to answer their question with a question:
What do you think should happen to him?
After about 5 minutes of discussion, this was the conclusion they came to:
You shouldn't be able to race in cycling anymore, because that is where you cheated. But if you did, you need to do it alone. You shouldn't have a team. It should be just you and no drugs. They think you should be able to race in triathlon and marathons and other sports. Mr. Armstrong, guess where they really want to see you show your stuff? On the soccer* pitch.
They, we, believe you are a very gifted athlete. One who, without the use of performance enhancing drugs, can achieve levels which others, put simply, cannot. We believe in grace and redemption because that is what we are offered daily from God. For you, Mr. Armstrong we are choosing in grace and redemption.
As a parent I want to know what are the lessons you want kids to take away from your decisions? Do you really care what they think? You are a daddy, right? If you were in my position how would you talk to your kids or better yet, how are you talking to you your kids?
Happy to send you a pair of shin guards and tall socks,
PS You were not the only athlete we talked about this morning. We also talked about Mark Fretta who they met this spring at the Olympic Training Center. Grace...
* Soccer is their favorite. Triathlon is a way to keep in shape for the soccer season and have some fun in the summer.