“Athletes must understand that admitting to their mistakes is not the end of the road–in many ways it can be the beginning of something much better.” – David Millar, Racing Through the Dark p. 267
“I may have been able to win bigger races [by doping], but I’d never felt less joy in doing so.” – David Millar, Racing Through the Dark p. 197
June 22, 2004 – Lying in a prison cell in Biarritz, France after being freshly arrested for doping, professional cyclist David Millar felt many things, but one of the strong ones was relief. He was one of the premier cyclists in cycling, and his career, by all expectations, was now dead.
But the realization that he wasn’t going to have to pretend anymore, that he wasn’t going to have to lie, that he wasn’t always going to have to look over his shoulder, that he could now move on with a clear conscious helped carry him through those moments.
It takes courage to stand up to our actions and to not let them blackmail us as we desire a change in course. Oftentimes there is a fear to change, even if we desire it ever so much, because that change will require exposing our former wrong deeds as we seek forgiveness and a new way of life.
Our self fights hard against letting us hurt it in the pursuit of truth and rightness. It threatens us with all the pain that our desire for freedom will make us suffer.
The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness. – Steps to Christ p. 43
Tyler Hamilton was another professional cyclist that was caught for doping. His double-life of cheating ruined his profession and a marriage. He fought against the accusations, until he realized that owning up to the past was the best way to live.
“I’ve come to learn that the truth is a living thing. It has a force inside it, an inner springiness. The truth can’t be denied or locked away, because when that happens, the pressure builds. When a door gets closed, the truth seeks a window, and blows the glass clean out.” – Tyler Hamilton The Secret Race p. 271
Looking back, both cyclists wish they would have rather raced without cheating. A clear conscience, self respect, and a knowledge that one has pursued the correct path are worth more than success, wins, and acclaim.
I hope that your courage will always grow stronger to choose the right, even if it means vulnerability and exposure. Living in the light of truth, on the testimony of these two witnesses, is so much better.
“The truth really will set you free.” – Tyler Hamilton The Secret Race p. 279