sports stories grabbed headlines earlier this week. Lance Armstrong
retired after seven straight Tour de France victories. He says he wants
to devote more time to his children and family, and do things he has
been unable to do while he has recovered from cancer, and trained
vigorously for the Tour. People are applauding Lance and his decision.
A day later, Ricky Williams ended his one-year retirement and returned
to pro football. Williams retired last year because he said his heart
wasn't in it, and he wanted to do other things with his life, things he
was never able to do while playing football. Williams was vilified for
his decision last year. Of course, a lot of it had to do with the fact
that he failed the NFL's substance abuse policy and was going to be
banned for the entire 2004 season. Williams then lived in a tent in
Australia, and took courses in holistic medicine in California. Many
think Williams decision to return to football is based on the fact that
he owes the Dolphins over eight million dollars.
Lance Armstrong is being debated as one of the greatest athletes of all
time. Ricky Williams is a former first round pick who has battled
injuries and addiction. Lance Armstrong's success is attributed to his
competitiveness and hard work. Ricky Williams is being called a
deserter and is trying to win back the trust of teammates and fans.
Lance Armstrong is on top of the world and dating a rock star. Ricky
Williams is the source of comedian's jokes, and betting establishments
are taking wagers on when he will quit again.
Both athletes officially retired to do things they wanted to do but
never had a chance to. But the difference in perception is as wide as
the ends of the solar system. It's a simple life lesson. Trust and
respect are earned, they take a lifetime to build up, but take just a
few minutes to break down. Lance Armstrong may return to cycling one
day, but his legacy is secure just like Michael Jordan's is. But Ricky
Williams has a lot of work to do to restore his reputation. He will
always be labeled a quitter because he walked out on his teammates, and
that's the difference. It's an old little league saying, "winners never
quit, and quitters never win." It will be interesting to see if Ricky
Williams gets this concept. Give everything you have while you can,
then enjoy the fruits of your labor.