Today, this issue of Time is hitting news-stands across the nation (not that people read, anyway). Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, is out on bail and expected to be on trial in June for the shooting and killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steemkamp.
I’m not writing to defend him or indict him. There’s a million factors to consider including an entire culture in South Africa that is hella interesting to read. I’m writing this because I’m kind of sad. I’m sad about how so many prominent sports icons are in the news for scandals and shame.
Pistorius has been an inspiration to abled and disabled athletes alike and has become a poster-child for overcoming adversity. He’s a national hero and he and Steemkamp were the David & Victoria Beckhams of South Africa. Or Tom and Gisele, or Lamar and Khloe or whatever.
Lance, even more than Pistorius has transcended sports into the realm of an inspirational figure. For years, he has vehemently and violently denied accusations of doping. Finally, in a strange awkward confession to Oprah (of course), he reveals his use of performance enhancing drugs in his Tour De France titles.
JoePa has been the face of Penn State Football forever, and was one of the most prolific and iconic college football coaches in history. He’s been an educator and mentor for countless student-athletes. Now it’s been revealed that he’s implicated to some degree in covering up Jerry Sandusky’s heinous acts.
What makes me sad is an inherent distrust of authority that is pervasive in our culture and we’ve adopted suspicion as a vaccine for deception. We’ve learned not to trust the icons. There’s always a scandal looming; a cover-up hiding in shadows.
I don’t know if I have a point or a message to go with this article. Well.. except I do. I realize as I write this that my motive for writing this is clear. I want us to keep believing in heroes. I want us to believe in a person’s ability to inspire a people.
We hunt for scandals and can’t wait to expose hypocrisy, but I don’t want us to lose faith yet. I still I believe in the power that leadership can have, and I don’t want to give up on passing skills and knowledge down from generation to generation. I don’t want us to live alone in a world that is only comprised of corrupt systems and conspiring leaders. I want us to keep believing.