What do I tell my kids about @LanceArmstrong?
Is he still my “man crush”?
Do I still defend him?
The answers are: Lets get back to it; sure and; yes and no.
How can I still have the “man crush” for Lance? Well lets see. I love endurance sports; I love partaking and watching. I love the survival and the emotion. Does doping ruin it? Yes and no. I will deal with the no first. It is still a pursuit of a goal. A goal that seems out of reach. How many want to to make it to a finish line? I want to finish an Ironman, a writer wants to finish their story, a painter wants to finish their artwork. Is it only that line we strive for though or is it the complete journey? In order to finish any triathlon or any goal, you work to make it there. Some will have shortcuts, some will be naturally gifted, more creative or able to push through. So will doping ruin that view of Lance or sport. No. Just like the fact that Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, the Stones or @NikkiSixx and the Crue were likely sitting in front piles of weed, coke or heroin when they created some of my favourite music. I loved watching the Lance videos of him training in the snow and freezing rain. It shows that even if he did dope, he was at least on that journey and working hard for his goals. When he reached those goals, he used the money and fame to create a greater awareness of cancer and the journey to recovery. Now why would doping ruin my enjoyment of endurance or my “crush”? Simply he ruined other people. Some good, some worse than he is and some only after a buck. But he should not have ruined a simple masseuse and made us all despise the “lying whore”. That is what I don’t like. The bullying hatred of “the trolls”. The threats and cancerous defaming of some good people.
Now do I still defend him? Yes and no again. He is still an advocate for cancer awareness, he still sends personalized messages to sufferers and he still believes in surviving cancer. Were all other cyclists doping? I don’t know for certain I wasn’t there. But what I can say is that you have to go pretty far down the start lists to find a rider not linked to doping from those 7 wins. But is that right? Nope, doesn’t make it right. It does however make me understand the culture and society that the riders lived in. You want to achieve your goals in cycling? You have to get the edge. Ulrich doped, but was lazy in the off season and did recreational drugs and that is why he didn’t win again after his first. He didn’t want to take the journey to get there. So you can leave out the drugs and still find those guys that worked the hardest right? Not quite that simple. Doping gives riders unfavourable gains because those that dope have better recovery after the hard training. So yes they work hard on their journey, but not fairly. So in short on this I defend Lance because he is not evil and the ruination of all endurance sport, he did not shag the purity out of cycling or triathlon; he is both victim and perpetrator, a lesson to be taught and learned. Morally ambiguous, yet also benevolent. He is like most of us. He has done wrong and right. He is moral and immoral. He is not perfect and is flawed. We look for a hero because we are not one. He accepted the role and was found wanting in the end.
So what do I tell my kids. Nothing.
Lance is a reflection of most of us. My kids are not stupid and can see the right and the wrong. In fact this is now a better lesson. You can achieve and overcome whatever you want, but with shortcuts will come consequences. With cheating, comes punishment. With lying comes regret. With truth comes relief. And in time forgiveness but not absolution.