MacGyver and Armstrong

My son and I watched an old episode of MacGyver the other night.  The series wasn’t perfect by any means, but I’d take it over Glee, The Big Band Theory or The Vampire Diaries any day!  In light of recent events surrounding Lance Armstrong the following flashback scene from the show cries out with even more power and resonance.

It’s sudden death overtime in the hockey championship and eleven-year old MacGyver is ready for the face off.  When the whistle blows MacGyver wins the puck and turns toward the goal.  The camera closes in on MacGyver’s hockey stick.  The young boy uses it to trip his opponent before skating furiously down the ice and making the winning shot.  Almost everyone in the home crowd goes crazy.  One gray haired man, however, silently stares in disappointment.  He saw what his grandson had done.

MacGyver raises his hands in victory and skates to find his grandfather.  When their eyes meet the boy’s countenance falls.

“You intentionally tripped that boy.” His grandpa stated sadly.

“We did it Grandpa!  We won!”  MacGyver tries to make light of the offense.

“You’re no winner bud.”  His grandpa replied in somber disappointment.

The young boy stares into his hero’s sad eyes and knows what he must to do.  Without a word he skates to the official and confesses.  The referee looks up and signals the point is no good.  In the midst of the pandemonium that ensues, the young boy and his grandfather smile at each other.  MacGyver is a winner after all.

If a young Lance Armstrong had had a man in his life who loved him enough to teach him the value of honor and integrity, I wonder if his story today would be different.  Maybe he did have such a mentor and he chose to ignore it.  What we do know is that winning became more important to Lance than anything…anything.

Competition can bring out the best and the worst in us; it provides the opening to build character and integrity in our children.  We all love to win, but we usually grow and learn more from our losses. The question is, will we capitalize on those opportunities in our children’s lives?  Competition, seen through the eyes of the Creator, leaves no room for pride—or low self-esteem.

If Lance Armstrong had been caught cheating when he was young by a firm but caring mentor, and accepted the painful consequences of his actions, his life might have been very different.  Would he have won seven Tour de France titles?  Probably not, but he might have been able to look his son in the eye today and smile…knowing he was a true winner after all.