Say it Aint so, Lance
The very first time was as a young man seeing my University of Kentucky Wildcats blow the 1997 national championship to Arizona. Most recently was in February, when I watched my beloved New England Patriots defense allow Eli Manning and the New York Giants to drive down the field and let the Super Bowl slip through their fingers. How about the 2010 NBA finals when my Boston Celtics lost Center Kendrick Perkins just before Game 7, then let the Lakers come back and win the game and the NBA championship. Of course, there was Aaron “bleepin” Boone (as he has come to be known in Boston) hitting a homerun in extra innings to keep the Red Sox out of the World Series in 2003. Today, there is Lance Armstrong.
As a grown man it is not very often that I have my heart broken, even less so that I feel like crying. Sports have been a source of that helpless, bewildered, isolated feeling, and today, as I read the details of the Lance Armstrong doping case I had that feeling again. I can handle Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemons, and the list goes on; but it is hard for me to swallow the reports on Lance Armstrong. 26 witnesses, including 11 former team mates of the once legendary cyclist have come forward with very convincing evidence that he cheated his way into winning seven Yellow Jerseys in the Tour de France. He was a fake.
It made me want to go sit alone somewhere and weep just thinking about. I have always understood that athletes are not role models, and I have rarely placed athletes on a pedestal. Lance Armstrong was no ordinary athlete. It takes a Pat Tillman type athlete to earn my respect off the playing field, and Lance Armstrong did that. Not only was he a hero for his athletic accomplishments, but his Livestrong has raised roughly half a billion dollars for cancer research.
I have never been a cancer patient, and I cannot relate to someone fighting the disease, but that does not mean I cheer any less enthusiastically for those who do take on that battle. Lance Armstrong did take on that battle, and he won. He beat cancer; not only did he beat it, he took it out behind the wood shed and pummeled it. After surviving cancer the man did something no cancer patient had done before–he won the Tour de France. Then he did something no man, cancer patient or not, has ever done before–he won seven Tours de France…in a row. A heroic feat for any man, let alone someone who had to battle cancer. The message this sent to others fighting for their lives was clear. “You can bet this, and you can come out of the other side stronger.” Every doctor, friend, family member, and lover all said those words, but Lance did not have to; he proved them. They were not just words of encouragement from those around you, it was proof, it was hope, it was miraculous. I believe in miracles, and Lance Armstrong helped others believe too.
But it was all a fraud. Lance was able to achieve super human success because he was a super human. It is no longer realistic for a cancer patient to look up to Lance Armstrong and think, “if he can do it, I can do it.” The fact is he could not do it, he did not do it, he cheated. The icon, the hero, the hope, all gone with one report. The fact that it all disappeared with the blink of an eye made my eyes water. His fall from grace means more than one more athlete disappointing the public. I hope to God the report is not true; but examining the evidence, I just do not see how that can be.
Posted on October 19, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles and tagged cheating, doping report, fraud, hero, Livestrong, new england patriots, performance enhancing drugs, sports, steroids, super-bowl, tennis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.