Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Take on Lance

Seems like everyone has an opinion on Lance Armstrong so why should I be any different? Plenty has been said on this subject so I’m going to try and keep this short.

Unlike seemingly everyone out there, I’m not a Lance hater. I wasn’t before and I’m not even now when it’s become fairly clear that yes, he did indeed take performance enhancing drugs while competing. Much as I hoped he was not, it does seem likely that Lance is guilty as charged.

Regrettably, our society tends to revel in the falls from grace experienced by others. I hate to be a cynic, but it often seems that the whole reason for building up our heroes is only to enjoy knocking them down again. The phenomenon is known as schadenfreude: pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. It’s not exactly humanity at its best.

Make no mistake; I believe Lance Armstrong deserves the punishment he is receiving. Cheating is always unacceptable and actions have to have consequences.

But I’m not happy about it. As one who typically eschews hero worship, I have to admit to being nonetheless, an admirer of the man and what he’s accomplished both on and off the bike. Cancer has affected many people I know and Lance has served as an inspiration to so many who have been sick. Indeed, I’ve see it throughout social media, those who are cancer survivors, or those close to them all still carry a lot of respect an admiration, doping charges notwithstanding. It is no stretch of the imagination to understand that to someone who’s taken strength and solace from his triumph over cancer is not going to throw away their yellow LiveStrong band because of the doping scandal.

In time, this will pass from our freshest memories though I expect the stain it leaves on the world of competitive cycling will take decades to fade. I hope that all of the parties involve work diligently and thoughtfully to clean up the sport and allow those who inspire us to be heroes worthy of the name.

Thanks for reading.

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