"...Oh there will come a time when you will wish you had some mercy!!!" --The Rev. Joan Parrott

Rev. Parrott made this prophetic quote during her sermon for a friend's ministry ordination service about four years ago. She was using the story of Rev. Jesse Jackson, who at the time was under scrutiny for fathering a child out of wedlock, to make a point about passing judgment on anyone who has stumbled in life. It is a certainty we are all imperfect and fall short in life.

I've long been a Marion Jones fan. She evidently took the opposite route to NC State to train that I took to work, and yes I'd get a geeky kick out of passing her or seeing her in the McDonald's drive-thru once in awhile. My family also ran into her at the mall last year, and I have to say she has to be the most humble,personable pro athlete I've ever met. (Most have all the people skills of a zombie.) She stopped and talked at length with us and made over my infant nephew as if we were long lost cousins or something. She declined politely to take a photo because she was shopping with her family and son. My sister logged this historic event in my nephew's life in his journal.

Am I disappointed to find out she'd lied about using steroids? Yeah. I'm also sad for her because I sincerely believe some people "mistook her kindness for weakness" and took advantage of her trust. Yes she's an adult and she made bad decisions. (Anybody heard the words "bad decisions" or "apology" or "shame" come out of Barry Bonds' mouth lately? Ever? ) I've watched her apology several times on the news, and I believe in my heart Jones is contrite and sincere.

I often wonder if all the scorn we as a society heap on fallen celebrities has more to do with our hidden jealousy than our "hurt"? I think deep down we say, "You had all that money,fame, and/or athletic success I never had, and now you go and do this? Serves you right!

I think I am sad mostly because she was a phenomenal talent on the track and the basketball court who didn't need to cheat. She went to the Olympic trials while still in high school. She played on the national championship basketball team for the UNC Tarheels in 1997. I remember reading an opposing coach's quote that she played like "Carl Lewis with a basketball...if she gets the first step on you she's going to score, period."

I don't know if she'll ever read this, but Marion I remain a fan and I support you. Keep your head up. This too shall pass. --KS