As I write this, I've just heard a news report on NPR (based on a recent New York Times article) that ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong is weighing whether or not to confess to doping in order that he might be permitted to continue competing as a triathlete. This involves serious legal maneuvers to avoid prosecution in civil court for a variety of allegations (the most serious, that he and the U.S. Postal Service pro cycling team used federal funds to finance their systematic doping program).
That "thud" is my jaw hitting the floor. Where I come from "confession" is serious business. It's not something you cynically manipulate for your desired purposes. At least it shouldn't be. To me, this reveals the world Lance has been living in all along: "Lance's World"--a win-at-all-costs world where rules are bent to insure your victories, where you crush your competition and obliterate those who get in your way. It's a world where the ends always justify the means, where the public is taken for fools. Give me Marion Jones any day: she at least showed some visible remorse with her tears and did some time in prison for her offenses. One hopes her character has grown and benefited and that she's a better person for all of this.
Confession literally means "to agree." It's to agree that what we've done is reprehensible and wrong and to sincerely admit that we're sorry for it. Confession involves humble recognition that we've missed the mark, that we've transgressed a serious standard, that we are sorry and now seek to make amends and live differently. Confession can lead to liberation and personal renewal. Above all, confession is not just another way to "lawyer-up" and come out victorious. If you're the praying type, pray for Lance's genuine, heartfelt confession and the necessary contrition to go with it. There's so much more at stake here than sports. And apparently he's just not getting it.