According to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of a champion is "a winner of first prize or first place in competition or one who shows marked superiority."
Using that definition, Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez are champions, and yet both have been discredited for using PEDs in winning championships. Using that definition, Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, is also a champion, and we know what happened to him.
There are many other examples of people who have achieved that champion label, but I would hardly classify them as true champions. In fact, I understand that a lot more so-called champions might be identified as cheaters in the next few months.
Apparently none of this group ever saw the logo on the shoulders of all Little League players, the one that reads: "I don't cheat."
The logos of those offenders might as well read: "Cheat as long as you don't get caught."
When I think of a champion, it goes beyond the winning of championship rings, belts and other titles. How did they become a champion in the first place? I believe that a champion is one who wins fair and square and also shows true championship ability not only in winning but also in losing.
Perhaps we should look a little closer to home for such individuals.
I was away on family business last week in Maine during the running of the 8th Annual Iron Girl Triathlon. But I was delighted to learn that Hammond Elementary School Physical Education teacher, Suzy Serpico, had won her first triathlon as a professional.
Now there's a true champion. She handles herself the same way, win or lose, and is an example for all of us.
Take for example the Iron Girl race held a year earlier. Suzy suffered a major bike malfunction and had to walk her bike back along Route 108 so she could continue the final run around Centennial Lake to complete the course and finish in 16th place.
She could have called it a day after the malfunction, but she wanted to finish what she started. After the race, I talked to her. She had no complaints. It was just one of those things. She said she could live with whatever happened
Earlier this year, Suzy was in front in a local race with several hundred yards to go before she became ill and ended up finishing second. Once again, she refused to take the limelight away from the winner.
This is to me what a real champion is. The kids in her classes at Hammond Elementary School have a role model to look up to and champion in the truest sense of the word.
Return of Grand Prix
I know little about Grand Prix road racing, but I am recommending that you either watch this year's Labor Day race in Baltimore on television or go and watch it in person.
There are some interesting storylines developing.
There's this past Sunday's "arguable" penalty assessed against leader Scott Dixon near the conclusion of the Grand Prix of Sonoma for brushing a crew member of Will Power's team in the pits. That sets up a great face-off for this year's race, especially with Power serving as the defending champion.
And don't discount the spectacle of the race itself, with all of its colors, sounds and best drivers in the world. This may be the final stop for the Grand Prix in Baltimore, with sponsorship and making money having been a problem in the past, so make sure to enjoy this year's event.
I guarantee an exciting race that will make your heart pound.