Rise Above: It’s about Integrity. It’s about Guts

31 12 2010

I finished Paul Kimmage’s book, “Rough Ride. Behind the Wheel with a Pro Cyclist.” And I must comment: this man endured more hardship and bullshit than most everybody I know. He’s telling it like it is, and that’s why I admire his character.

This guy’s got intestinal fortitude. A long time ago this was called “having the spleen.” I find the phrase humorous, but I couldn’t be more serious about the topic. Questions about a man’s character are directly related to how he presents himself. To most around him, he became a pariah, because he choose to stand-up and tell the truth. Much of the time, this is not proper behavior if you desire to be part of a group. Choose to rock the boat and you get cast-off.

This brings me to group behavior. Everyone wants to be different, but yet everyone wants to fit into the group. To find acceptance is a powerful motivator. One that can cause rationalization and the actions that goes with it. I’m not talking about Mr. Kimmage’s behavior, I’m talking about the behavior of various directeur sportifs and team doctors, the Union Cycliste Internationale, and of the Italian Olympic Committee, etc. Did their behavior benefit or damage the athletes under their care at that time? Did they take care of them? What about current organizations? My perception based on Kimmage’s book is a thundering “not even close.” Turns my stomach.

Do you say that every man is responsible for his own actions? I say true! And in this day and age I also say that there’s a lot of blame that gets re-directed to someone or something else. I don’t agree with this rationalization at all. I think that today most individuals would duck-and-cover rather than take responsibility for themselves. Disgusting. You don’t hear examples of impeccable personal honor as the subject of the news at all. I think our society has forgotten all about that. What a pissing shame.

I couldn’t finish his exquisitely agonizing story without commenting afterward. My hat’s off to Mr. Kimmage. Was he perfect? Hell no. Who on this flippin’ rock is perfect? Not me.

This is one man I’d like to meet…in the least just to shake his hand and say, “Thanks. I respect what you did.” For what it’s worth.




3 responses

31 12 2010
Tweets that mention Rise Above: It’s about Integrity. It’s about Guts « Eric's Road Bike Racing & Training Blog -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barb Chamberlain. Barb Chamberlain said: RT @EricRacesBikes: A reflection on a racer's story. How many of us would measure up? http://wp.me/pJ7ub-in Good lesson's here. […]

31 12 2010
Spokane Al

Good stuff Eric. When you wrote “Do you say that every man is responsible for his own actions? I say true!” Michael Jackson comes to mind with the various lawsuits brought on by family members blaming others for his death.

1 01 2011
Eric Abbott

I agree. Observing situations like that I sometimes wonder how are we as a species are supposed to be improving. One of my seemingly constant-running sub-routines is the search and determination of root cause. I ask “why is that” a lot. Sometimes I’m frustrated by the absence of an answer, other times I must let it go. These later occasions I’m reminded by the Budda’s saying, “…attachment causes suffering.”

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