Allow me to state my personal position on performance enhancing drugs (“PEDs”):
If I had an opportunity to become, or remain, a world class athlete in virtually any discipline (except English hill running and competitive body waxing) I would inject these substances into my ass in front of my mother.
The razor thin line between iconic star on the one hand, and the car salesman who was once drafted but never played on the other compels most professional athletes to at least consider PEDs. The lure of fame, wealth and all of the accolades of success on the field of play is an irresistible force to most competitive individuals. Who would not want to always be out front in a club ride or run? Who wouldn’t want to be able to hit a baseball into the outer reaches of earth’s atmosphere? I wish my doctor would prescribe these substances to me now. Why shouldn’t all of us have the opportunity to be on a Wheaties box? Given that I can only speak for myself, allow me to say that I would look pretty good in my tux at next year’s ESPYs. I desperately want my blood re-oxygenated, I’m ready coach…juice me up.
I do not, therefore, seek to judge Mr. Armstrong because he used PEDs, but please do not insult my intelligence any longer. You did it all Lance. You used the drugs and the blood tricks with gusto and it worked. I hope Lance will find it in his heart to forgive us for not being so fundamentally foolish as to accept such a poorly masked lie. A cancer survivor who was a middle of the pack pro before testicular and brain cancer who became other worldly AFTER cancer treatment? Nice try.
In Lance’s first professional race at the age of twenty he finished dead last, in his first Tour De France in 1993 he managed to win one stage (a remarkable feat) but he dropped to 63rd place before he withdrew from the race. That was three full years prior to the cancer diagnosis. Additionally, you would have to be lost in deep space for the past decade not to know that in the world of professional cycling all of the elite riders are cheating. How many more so-called superstar cyclists have to be banned from the sport, and stripped of titles, before we can all just get past the fiction that maybe, just maybe, Lance was above normal human frailty. Besides, if everybody was cheating (and they were) why can’t we just accept Lance’s records? I mean if they’re all doing it, wasn’t the playing field level, didn’t Lance beat them all? I’d let him keep his records because I’m one of those folks who is convinced that all professional athletes are cheating. Knowing a thing or two about human physiology, I recognize that head sizes do not naturally increase for human beings who are older than 30 years. People do not became dramatically quicker, faster or stronger as they age—most of the human beings I know tend to get a bit heavier, slower and weaker with the passage of time. If you choose to be naïve and accept Major League Baseball’s bizarre claims that they’ve cleaned up their game, that is your business….hell you probably have other more pressing problems what with trying to convince Michael Bloomberg that you really did buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
If I’m being completely honest, though, who cares in the first place? I am a rider and actually follow professional road racing, but let’s face it- professional cycling falls somewhere between 3 meter diving and Minnesota Ice Sailing in terms of popularity. With the sole exception of a few passing remarks during the Tour, ESPN doesn’t cover the sport. By my reckoning that means that Texas Hold’em has broader appeal. Be honest, can any of you identify the winner of the Tour De France the year after Armstrong last won? How about this year’s winner? Anyone? Which leads me to our point here today.
Lance Armstrong’s current work is far more important to all of us than anything he ever did with his blood or his bike in the Alps. Lance Armstrong has, and will continue to, play a key role in cancer research and fundraising. His Livestrong organization has done great work, and even if it ultimately fails because prudish Americans stop contributing, Livestrong has done remarkable work to raise awareness of the need for private funding for cancer research. It was a brilliant decision to put yellow rubber wristbands on what seems like every wrist in America. Lance Armstrong as a cancer survivor and a warrior in the war against cancer is so much more important in that capacity than he would be living off of his feats beating Jan Ulrich on Alp d’Huez.
Two years ago Lance rode in the Pan Mass Challenge which, in its thirty years, has raised a quarter of a billion dollars for cancer research. It is a 192 mile bike ride across Massachusetts and it has been the single most successful fundraising bike event in the country. Lance’s presence in that ride two years ago was inspirational to me, and all of the 5000 riders. He provides hope to people and their families dealing with cancer. He is a rockstar to all of us dedicated to eradicating cancer, and he will do great things well into the future if we just let the PED issue die. He has already done more to fight cancer than any of us can really know. His presence alone at a fundraising event increases interest in the event and leads to better fund raising. His gift and his name are valuable weapons in the fight against cancer and I say we should all collectively get off of the man’s back.
I do get upset with Armstrong’s approach in seeking to preserve his reputation in the face of mounting evidence that he cheated because even Lance himself isn’t paying attention: NOBODY CARES. Armstrong needs to own what he did so that he can get on with the real work of his life….promoting cancer research and awareness.
We love you dude and we need your energy, passion and your remarkable will to find the cure. Oh and is there any way you could see your way clear to giving an aging weekend warrior a few blood doping tips? I’m getting just a tad tired of being passed by elderly men and women.