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Monday, July 25, 2005

Tour de Lance, Tour de Forever

As I'm sure you all know by now, Lance Armstrong won his 7th straight Tour de France yesterday. (Is that 7 Tour de Frances or 7 Tours de France? I vote for 7 Tours de France.) Regina came to call it the Tour de Forever, as many nights over the past 3 weeks, it would be on our TV. I guess she got tired of it.

I am somewhat torn about my feelings for him.

I obviously greatly admire what he's accomplished, especially after surviving cancer. I'm actually one of the 8 people in the U.S. that paid attention to the Tour de France before he came along, so I understand the history of the event and the utter scorn that the French have had for Americans that have been successful in the TDF. Having ridden a "century" on the bike before, I can slightly comprehend the absolute torture that he has put his body through over the last 23 days (and seven years). I also believe that he has done it all steroid and dope free, though many would see me as overly optimistic, or even naive.

He has also given a great deal of hope to other cancer sufferers, who can relish in his success and make dreams of their own. You can't deny the power of this.

On the other hand, he has always given himself full credit for defeating cancer. He talks about the doctors and drugs, but he fails to mention the Great Physician, who undoubtedly was the one who truly defeated the cancer, despite the cross he wears around his neck. I guess I just see the sheer numbers that he could have impacted had he given credit for his healing where it should have been given.

I'll admit I don't know the intimate details, but his divorce certainly gives the impression that he became too big and popular for his wife and he felt the need to "upgrade." Now, of course, he's found himself a rock star girlfriend. He gets to give out awards and see Hollywood premieres and be on Oprah while his wife stays at home and watch it all it on TV and raise the kids.

He says he is retiring to watch his kids grow up. I guess he'll be able to do that every other weekend and a few weeks during the summer when he has visitation. But, I guess, that's more than he saw them previously.

Of course, I'm being somewhat cynical. I'm an Armstrong fan. He works harder than all the others and that's why (along with some natural ability) he has been able to win the world's hardest sporting event 7 times straight. I guess I just hold folks to a higher standard before I elevate them to "hero" status as many have...

(Or maybe I'm just bitter because he's "retiring" and he's exactly 32 days older than me!)


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