Tyler, This is How I REALLY Feel
There is a verbal tool used in conflict mediation called Emptying Your Emotional Jug. The exercise is simple. The speaker answers 4 questions without interruption – not stopping until all emotion on that point is completely exhausted. This breaks the tensions of silence and brings relief to the speaker. It also gives the listeners insight. From this place, conflict resolution is easier to attain.
Through words and deeds I’ve “listened” to Tyler. Now I want an audience as I empty my emotional jug:
Question 1: What makes me MAD?
I am so pissed at you. You’ve taken your position and abilities and abused us again. Despite your US Road Race win, you never won back my respect. Not because of your riding abilities, but because of your lack of character in acknowledging wrong-doing. Do you think the public is so superficial that we categorically adore our race winners without looking at who they are and how they go about things? For me, that win was empty – further, it was a frustrating demonstration of a lack of repentance – and we all need to change our ways sometimes- as well as a poor example to the young clean riders in that peloton who may have believed at that time that it’s possible to get away with anything. I would respect you more if you confessed to all. Despite doping, you did so many things right. I remember the Boulder days of sacrifice as an elite amateur developing into a neopro talent. I still own a pair of your used Speedplays from those days – worn thin like pennies smashed by a train. So I’m mad that the glory that would have come your way anyway now cannot because you cheated your own destiny. Not to mention everyone else, the sport and its supporters. I’m mad mostly because you will not take this as a person of character and admit wrong-doing so it can be corrected for your sake and for the sake of others who hold you as an example.
Question 2: What makes me feel BAD?
You have never given me the opportunity to respect you again. By confession and trying a new way, I think you still could have won. These wins may not have been as grand, they may not have been as dramatic and as public but they would have given others the opportunity to forgive you and admire you again. Further, they may have offered those within your sphere of influence an example of hard work, determination, clean living, justice and mercy. What makes me feel really bad is that if you don’t learn this lesson which keeps cycling around over and over in your life, you are going to apply this same short-cut-your-way-to-the-top mode of operation in other endeavors. You are going to wind up disqualified and suspended from life. Because real life requires the giving of ourselves so deeply that we cannot avoid the pain on the way to achievement – that pain feels like patience, that pain feels like hard work, that pain feels like disappointment, but that pain leads to glory. Because even the second place finisher can be glorious.
Question 3: What makes me feel SAD?
I’m sad for American cycling. We look like fools to the world because of this. I feel sad for young riders who think that several moments of podium time may be worth acts of disrepute. I feel sad for outsiders to the sport who don’t understand our challenges and will judge us because of this. I feel sad for me – having to look around for examples that I can use with neopros. I feel sad for you because I doubt you understand how cleansing it is to confess and how freeing it is to admit. I feel sad because I wonder how you can recoup any losses in this current state. How can you feel good about your past, your present and your future if nothing changes?
Question 4: What makes me feel GLAD?
That you were caught makes me glad. Justice is seen despite your lack of taking responsibility about it. I feel glad about the idea that this could bring you to your knees, not because I want you to suffer. But because we all need to be brought to our knees at times and realize that our heroes are imperfect and our fallen are redeemable. If you change your ways, these setbacks can be a set-up for a comeback in life. You could become an inspiration to others who are tempted, others who fail, others who need to change and rebuild.
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What has this exercise accomplished? My part toward forgiving Tyler is done. It’s up to him now to acknowledge his actions and take responsibility for them. Forgiveness is dependent upon me, reconciliation is dependent upon him. I hope he reconciles himself to his own conscience so his troubled soul can find peace, a new way and a bridge back – to the sport he’s spent a lifetime pursuing as a renewed contributor rather than a failed perpetrator. So Tyler, this is how I really feel. I’m keeping your penny-thin Speedplays as a reminder to fess up when I screw up. If you will not, at least I can. I’m at peace, and I am going to win. May God have mercy on us all.