January 19, 2013 1 Comment
Since early childhood I have lived by the creed, before you judge someone else, “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” I am a cyclist, albeit, a sorry ass one at best. Sadly I will never be compared to the elite cyclists one speaks of, in the same breath, with Lance Armstrong.
I am and will remain a huge supporter of Livestrong. The work Livestrong does for cancer victims is excellent and incontrovertible. The organization and the people behind it, sans Armstrong, are absolutely amazing.
Even before Lance’s true confession, I have tried to put myself in Lance’s shoes. First and foremost, it becomes extremely difficult, unless you have been diagnosed, been treated and lived with a life threatening cancer.
There are many of Lance’s detractors who have never had cancer, let alone been on a bike seat, or experienced the extreme sport of competitive cycling or can even begin to appreciate his inimitable brilliance and determination.
Still there will be many of Lance’s detractors who have been diagnosed with cancer, so thank God, I’m at a distinct disadvantage here. I can fall back on the fact I have one sister who is a breast cancer survivor, another sister who is battling breast cancer as I write this.
I am here to say, I have a serious problem with many of Lance’s detractors who have never experienced his amazing journey from serious life threatening testicular and brain cancer to recovery. Back to trying to put myself in Lance’s shoes, as a cancer survivor, in his case, it was nothing short of being raised from the dead.
The problem is he had already doped. He already knew how to dope. He knew the culture of doping in pro cycling. He knew other elite athletes in his profession were doping. So he doped. Somehow he won. It was off to the races.
His genius and competitive furor brings to mind Steve Jobs and his achievements in cycling why competing with co-conspirators were immeasurable. If you have read the book or studied the life and work of Steve Jobs, the comparison to Steve Jobs, is to say Armstrong is also a complete asshole. It begs the question, is ruthless determination, the price one must pay to celebrate incomparable success?
The saddest of all, for me in this and for other cycling enthusiasts is the effigy of a championship cyclist. We may never know. How tragic. Lance will never know. We will never know if he was truly a great champion. If in fact, if there was someone who rode clean, who could remotely challenge Lance, will we ever know who the greatest cyclist(s) in the history of the sport is, truly?
I will say this, if they were complicit in any way, they aren’t going to receive a pass. If they were innocent and Lance rolled over them, he needs to make it right. I would hope he would. If not, he’s still the biggest loser, because this is one of his only means of redemption. The other, is to protect and nurture his love for his family, especially his children.
I can’t remotely place myself in Lance’s shoes when it comes to his admonitions, accusations and confessions. Lance was larger than life. For a time, Lance’s achievements were larger than his lies. No more.
In the end, none of his perceived success either on the pro circuit or in his work for charity can be applauded. Neither can it be easily and lightly be disparaged and denigrated. Why? Simply, no one can ever possibly imagine, or conceive to “put yourself in Lance Armstrong’s shoes.” Lance Armstrong is an enigma.
I’m no Lance. You’re no Lance. There is no Lance.
What I know for certain is we can Livestrong!