Popularity & Unpopularity

Bad Guys & Good Guys

Fame or Notoriety - neither satisfy

Fame or Notoriety - neither satisfy

10“Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque remain the French public’s most popular riders. At the start, the mere mentioning of their names causes the public to raise the decibels a few notches .” Cycling News 

11It’s been very difficult but I will try to use all that happened to get stronger. If I had known I would have to pay that much of course I would have thought twice.” Richard Virenque, 7 Polka Dot Jerseys-TdF, on rebuilding a ruined reputation

12“I have heard nothing about the organisers changing their minds, and I have in no way requested anything in this regard. I think I had a reasonable discussion with the French after last year’s painful situation, but it had nothing to do with the question at hand. Of course I am happy, but now my attention is focused now supporting my team as best I can.” Bjarne Riis on TdF reinstatement


The fêted can become the hated, and the fêted can also become the reinstated. It doesn’t pay to put too much stock in public approval. If you live for prestige, then your vanity will exhaust you – because popularity is fleeting. There’s always the next great rider to cheer and the next monumental accomplishment.

Over time, the public is harder on those who staunchly deny wrong-doing in the face of evidence, even circumstantial evidence. In public perspective, time for truth to be exposed and the guilty to respond appropriately or not – generally divides good guys from bad guys. The public is forgiving – particularly upon admission of guilt. But if we base our motivation on public opinion, popularity or approval, our willpower and spirits go up and down like undulating terrain.

Sometimes the right thing to be is unpopular. Sometimes the right decisions take time to become popular. Yet someone must take leadership and risk popularity. Sometimes we screw up and unpopularity is deserved. We are all sinners who can be saints. We can become saintly and still fall to sin. The truth is the truth regardless of fluctuating opinions.


Prayer re: Unpopularity
 “How can I account for this generation?
…John came fasting and they called him crazy.
I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff.
Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they?
 The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” 13Matthew 11:16-19

We’re grateful that God sees and knows what’s true. We ask to be made righteous in God’s eyes no matter what we’ve done or will do.

 Ponder Ever notice how the same act that makes you popular from one quarter draws criticism from another? Affirm I try to do what’s right based on a higher standard. Watch the hard continue to ride.


11“Cycling: Virenque battles to rebuild reputation,” by Lawrence Tobin for Independent, The (London) posted Aug 16, 2001 on Business Network www.bnet.com

12“Riis reinstated as Tour winner,” Latest Cycling News, July 4, 2008 edited by Hedwig Kröner www.cyclingnews.com

13The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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