Whether it is the recent release of my book (Becoming a True Champion), the topics I cover on my blog, or my tendency to stand firm on ideas and thoughts I have on certain issues, I do tend to attract conversation regarding controversial and/or semi-controversial topics. Sometimes they just seem to find me, and this one was no different.
Yesterday, a good friend of mine at work called me over to her desk to show me a recently aired video on Lo Lo Jones and her statement about still being a virgin at age 29, in addition to her plan to stay that way until she is married.
Needless to say, this sparked my interest, especially with someone of Lo Lo’s athletic caliber (and beauty), wouldn’t it yours?
The controversy, well…you just don’t find many people, especially celebrities/athletes, that can honestly state this about themselves, let alone those willing to do so in public.
The controversy continued as I read through the comments at the end of various articles I found on the internet. Remarks like, “why is this news?,” “Prove it!!!,” “Get over yourself,” “How sad,” “So her “gift” to her husband will be, surprise I’m not good in bed!,”etc., were common, as well as statements supporting Lo Lo’s convictions like, “Good for her!,” “Lolo Jones is a class act…,”and “this is an awesome thing to announce.”
So where was I to start?
Even after gaining as much information as I could about what Lo Lo, and others, actually said, I wasn’t really sure which way to go with my piece. As a father of two daughters, I know where I stand, at least mostly. However, taking a stand, one way or the other (or somewhere in the middle), on a topic as personal as this, well…it just didn’t seem to be a good idea. In addition, who am I to say which is the right way?
I guess the best place to begin is to listen to what Lo Lo herself actually said so let’s start there:
And here (more of her talking here):
A few things - first, I truly enjoyed Lo Lo’s ability to express herself so eloquently on such a topic. Did a great job of explaining her position, why she feels the way she does, and all while keeping a good sense of humor about it.
Second, I know I come from a little bit of an older generation but man, guys haven’t changed a bit, “Hey…you know if you have sex, you’ll be able to run faster.” Ok…really, someone actually tried to use that!!! Certainly doesn’t speak well for the intelligence of the male species. What the heck was that guy thinking with? You only get one guess to answer that.
And third, something I want to focus much more attention on is the statement she made here:
“Please understand, this journey has been hard. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college…”
Now if that doesn’t demonstrate a real and honest commitment to an ideal that one truly believes in, I don’t know what does.
And, from my perspective, it is this type of commitment, this unbending, unbreakable type of will that Lo Lo demonstrates through what she calls “the hardest thing I have ever done in my life” that helps give her a special type of inner strength. The kind of inner strength that is all encompassing, extending well beyond the athletic arena as it becomes a big part of who she is―who she wants to be.
You see real commitment, the kind that creates within one a true sense of individuality, is not something we are born with, it is something we decide upon and that we choose to practice. And it is through this practice that our commitments are tested, and we, one way or the other, find out what we are truly made of―our “steel” so to speak.
The kind of steel that True Champions are made of.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not insinuating that one must commit to the same ideal that Lo Lo has committed herself to (even though that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing). That particular commitment is a personal choice each individual must make for themselves.
But what I am saying is that it is essential, imperative, that an athlete (or person for that matter) discover their own belief system and make real/true commitments that honor that belief system, wholeheartedly and without reservation, if they are ever to reach their full potential.
For me, that is the sense I get from Lo Lo Jones as I listen to her speak about her commitment to purity until marriage. This young lady, she is made of the right stuff, something we certainly could use more of from a good number of our other elite level athletes.