From the Cheap Seats
Lance Armstrong – Here’s my two cents
The subject of athletes being juiced or in common terms using performance-enhancing drugs is always a touchy subject and I have absolutely no compassion for athletes that have chosen to cross that line. Yet again we have another athlete in the news that has been stripped of his accomplishments because of these allegations.
Numerous baseball players have run their names through the news and its record and in front of congressional hearings about the subject but for some reason this Lance Armstrong incident bothers me more than others. As I understand it, Armstrong has never failed any sort of a test but the same could be said about Barry Bonds, yet I’m convinced bonds did steroids because Bonds went from a good ballplayer to a super ballplayer in a matter of years. To add to that his physical being changed drastically. There used to be a medium build baseball player and suddenly developed into this muscle-bound, rocket hitting, home run machine that broke all kinds of long-standing records.
Barry Bonds showed all the traits that he was juicing. An enlarged head and oversized shoulders are just a couple of the traits that follow people that juice. But I don’t want to argue about Bonds, the subject is Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong has been fighting these allegations for years and we all know his story about overcoming cancer. But what bothered me most was Armstrong’s decision to just not fight the allegations anymore from the USADA and the ICU. The ICU, International Cycling Union, the day Armstrong made his decision comes out and states that Armstrong’s actions and decision is an admission of guilt. This just doesn’t sit right with me, after years of fighting to the point that it’s affected his foundation and more importantly his family, Lance decided that he had just had enough. I think we can all relate on a large, well-funded machine decides to engage in individual that that individual can only take so much.
I can’t help but think of an incident in my past as a young kid growing up in a Catholic school was brought into the principal’s office for something that I was accused of. In my case I was accused of leaving a sandwich on my chair in the lunchroom. The nun at the time, Sr. Teresa was your stereotypical Catholic nun who was just looking for the opportunity to crack some kid on the knuckles with a ruler. I was brought into her office and sat down where she proceeded to continuously ask me why I just didn’t throw the sandwich out, why did I leave it on my chair? After telling her that it wasn’t mine time and time again, her answer was “you’re going to sit here until you admit it”. This went on for several hours in school had dismissed and everyone had gone home but meanwhile there I sat in her office with that cold wrinkled scowl looking at me waiting for my admission of guilt. Finally I decided to just say that it was mine so I could go home. She proceeded to lecture me about lying and then sent me home. When I got home late and parents asked why and I told him about my experience and my dad took it over from there. But the bottom line was I just wanted to go home in a new but that sandwich that was not mine, whether I admitted it was or not.
This is why I feel differently for Lance Armstrong that I do other violators of abusing performance-enhancing drugs to achieve success or level that they normally wouldn’t have been able to accomplish. I have always played sports and I was pretty good at all of them but I just cannot understand why people would use those drugs and think that their accomplishments were something that they did themselves. I do have to say that many times watching Armstrong take those mountains in France and leave everybody behind was a feat that none others had done. Could those results have been manufactured through the use of performance-enhancing drugs? Yes it could be and being tested doesn’t always reveal the truth either.
Drug manufacturers are always a step ahead of the testing process that’s why they were get paid what they do. So personally I don’t know if Armstrong used or not, physically he didn’t have the same traits as others have as far as the physical changes in their body so it’s hard to say. But I can relate to the feeling of being bombarded from all sides and just deciding to quit fighting.
But this is the society in which we live, you are guilty until proven innocent and even with that one is subject to people’s memories and the inaccuracy that comes with that. In this day and age, parents are driving their kids to perform at a high level with the hopes that their child will turn into a super athlete and get paid millions of dollars. I’ve seen too many parents trying to relive their youth through their kids only to cause destruction. Personally I believe athletes that manipulate the system and try and beat it with untested drugs to attain world records and that zillion dollar contract aren’t athletes at all but are lazy people who look to cut corners for a quick payday.
I am an old-school athlete; I worked hard at what I did and did my best to attain the highest level I could. But the bottom line was that there was always someone better than I can handle that because after all if you give it your best and your best isn’t good enough, then you shake hands with your opponent and congratulate him on the job well done. Face it folks, the view from the cheap seats can be an ugly one at times but in order to change our society we must be the example and we have an obligation to pass on sportsmanship to our youth. We need to teach them that you cannot cut corners and that success is the residue of hard work. The sooner society can get back to this concept of sports the sooner we can see the actual love for the game surface and sportsmanship will take its rightful place.
Acknowledging the efforts of your opponent shows the true nature of an athlete. As you all know I used to teach tennis for living and tennis is a gentleman’s sport, where at the end of the match you met your opponent at the net and shook hands. I believe the exchange of sportsmanship should never be shoved aside for an exchange of pharmaceutical information on what they used to win that match.
Give it some thought!
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