Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wittering on Wednesday - 'that guy'

Well as a sports fan I was drawn into watching the interview where a sportsman did his level best to distance himself from, well in the end from, himself. It was almost as if Lance Armstrong was trying to convince the audience that there were 'forces and pressures' that made him do things and that he was not true to his current self, but a victim of a whirlwind of circumstance that he could do nothing about. Well in a nutshell, I was not at all convinced, I was not convinced at all... you can always say 'no'.

There are so many issues surrounding the 'confession' that a debunking of it all would take hours, and from where I sit as a general sports fan it is all just deeply sad. I myself was wow'ed by the sport of road cycling during his run of Tour de France wins, I would leave work early with a very good friend to sit in his lounge wrapped in the wonder of watching 'that guy' storm up an alpine col. It was incredible to watch the drama of those races unfold, and frankly though I will still watch the Tour or other events I feel robbed of something. I watched the cancer survivor apparently defy the odds and blow the world away, it was inspiring and I feel very hollow at the final analysis.

I know that I was not alone in that sinking feeling over the last years leading into this admission, and the bereft feeling now we know the accusations were true. I bought the wristbands for the charity, when I might have spent that money on another charity, because of the feats of the man. Why else would I donate to a charity based halfway around the world (yes, I am very aware they fund global research). I am also the owner of a Nike / Livestrong running jacket that is frankly brilliantly stunning at its job, but lately has made me think twice about going for a run in it.

It is absolutely crazy to take something of this nature personally, but here I don't think I am alone in doing so either. Following heroes and icons has always been a risky enterprise.

At the moment I hope that 'that man' both from the past and present goes on to confess more fully in a more appropriate forum (law courts, some form of court of arbitration for sport clean-up commission). That there is still so much not laid out for further actions to be based upon in cycling and sports around doping is wrong, and 'that man' has not forgotten the machinery that got him around the Tour de France as 'winner' seven times.

Sadly my personal opinion is that sport should not allow Armstrong into any arena even if the total confession is given, it has been the manner and conduct of not wishing to be truly accountable for his own actions that leave me with little doubt a lifetime ban is merited. A truly humbled, repentant, sorry individual would not on balance carry on business in this way, and would likely be granted some form of sporting outlet in the future.

So there, I couldn't bite my insignificant sports fan tongue any longer. Sadly I will likely now be using the story of Lance Armstrong as a story of the bleak side of sports to my kids rather than the story of effort that many of believed not so very long ago.

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