Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 13 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/18/13

In Defense Of Lance Armstrong

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   4 comments
Message Mark Sashine
Become a Fan
  (58 fans)

(Article changed on January 18, 2013 at 12:35)

(Article changed on January 18, 2013 at 08:24)

(Article changed on January 18, 2013 at 08:22)

In the book Player Piano  by Kurt Vonnegut (if I am not mistaken) there is a scene when a 65-years'  old man gets a note from the central computer. In that note it tells him that his records indicate  that he  cheated on his Phys. Ed test when he was 15. Thus from that point he is stripped from  his all titles and credentials until he retakes the test which he is welcome to schedule in  his old High School.

I remembered this   during the interrogative session with Lance Armstrong by Oprah, all  those 'Yes or No'- questions,  as if she would come  at him as some  cop with  the lamp shining at his face. Come to think of it - it was   rather laughable when a billionaire was grilling  a multimillionaire on the matter of honesty.  I especially loved the scene where Oprah  expressed  a contempt regarding Lance previously suing people for  them saying he was taking drugs. Boy, she of course never sued people or did anything bad to defend herself.  She is as white as  a snow, pardon my simile.   I am not here to investigate her though. I  just feel a little bit uneasy.  Don't we all?  Like  I would  feel much better if  she would say something like, 'You seem to destroy lives on  your scale similar to G.W. Bush did on his.' But no, she did not say that. We here are considered honest until proven otherwise.

Let's return  to sports though. Hemingway in his Movable Feast wrote about  cycling competitions  with a motorcycle at the start and even he mentioned that those folks sipped   spirits from hidden bottles.  Hemingway did not  write it  with contempt or disgust.   He knew that world well and he knew such things to be inevitable; even then too much money was  involved.  But now the amount of money in sports is unbelievable, it is an industry like a financial one;, so  if there are firms or banks too big to fail (and corporations are like people, right?) why cannot a person  be  similar or at least be treated  with the same  benevolence? If Alan Greenspan could say  those words about 'his  model of world to come out wrong' and get away with  it, why a person who actually earned his millions in the grueling world of sports is to be dragged through all that mud?  Yes, he sinned but his sin was at least as big as his goal. I would advise some  people who lament  now to try to relieve at least a  part of his life.

Folks, you know  one of the Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin was not a saint at all. He  not only   had a child  out of wedlock  but also took advantage of that poor woman. He was a promoter of slave trade once, he cheated  on his duties repeatedly and some people said he also stole his lightning  rod idea from someone else. He got a  letter once from one good American who  compared him and his (that man's) father stating that although Ben Franklin was a great man for many, his father was a great man for his family. Franklin politely replied that everyone  chooses his destiny.

I am far from professional cycling  but I was a professional chess player. Chess only looks like some kind of  a relaxing  game; it is one of the most exhausting  both physically and mentally. We were teenagers and many of us had nervous  breakdowns and physical problems.  Doping was not an option; we had no drugs available and also due to simple fact of one- to-one interaction  doping would not save us. But  we had all kinds of psychological tricks  at our disposal and many of use used those, some with more  and some with less success.  I  am not  ashamed to mention that-  we never got any money  for  this and  none of us ever harmed anyone  else.

It had become obvious to us though through that experience that unnatural was very rare and  if  it happens too  openly it means there's something fishy.  Those unbelievable speeds, those  super-maraphons, those bulging muscles and  huge   limbs- they are all   not real, they all should be looked at with a grain of salt. But we also know that nobody  wants to look at it that way ( like rather recently there was a series of  revelations about fixed Sumo  wrestling matches and no one gave a damn); we EQUALLY love the victory and defeat; we love to feel GOOD ABOUT OURSELVES. So if   the poor bastard wins- we tell our kids that they could be like him and if he falls from the pedestal- we tell them that they better be like their fathers and mothers. It is a win- win situation for  us because kids have a very short memory and do not challenge us.

Now we  lament that Lance  deceived us all.  We of course don't mind being deceived by  the govt and corporate shills, by the media and our bosses, by our own  family members, by our children and even our dogs. We don't mind being deceived by our pastors, our  financial gurus, by  all those who deceive us every day, every minute, every second and laugh hysterically at our idiocy and our complacency. No, we don't mind them although they are much smaller personalities. We are mad at Lance, a man who beat   cancer  and happened to stay alive, who  immersed himself into the brutal world of his occupation and fell. Really, like Kennedy said, victory has many fathers and defeat is an orphan.  But defeat also is a prey. We are preying on it.

I would advise to say to your kids the following:
It is not up to us, those who consumed the image of Lance to pass a  judgment. Now you know how complex and cruel his world is; let  him be because your world is much  more easy and protected.  If you go into that world be prepared   to equally approach the  success and failure and ' risk everything  on pitch and toss'. Look at this man as a real man on  the peak of success and in the depth of failure and learn how to be a man in this world.

Ben Franklin was a man. Ecce vir, that 's how he was called.   His victories were as big as his failures.   We better understand  that  if we want to live a meaningful life. Turn off that Oprah stuff and get back to work, folks.  We have no stake in this.

Supported 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Mark Sashine Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

The writer is 66 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Human Coprophagia

Y2012- The Year Of A Coward


The School. Reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' in Russia

They Think Of Us As Slaves ( small note with big conclusion)

Glory and Malice

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend