Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't Be a Hater

I know I initially expressed reservations about Lance Armstrong's return to professional cycling. But it should also be said that I am a fan of Lance for numerous reasons, not the least of which is his somewhat arrogant and disparaging attitude. I'm a big fan of people who "tell it like it is," even if comes out sounding somewhat rude. He's also given cycling a lot of exposure (not always positive), and you really have to respect someone who's become famous for cycling, a sport that barely anyone in the U.S. pays any attention to. (Yes, he's done other things, such as have cancer, raise money for cancer, hang out with Matthew McConnaghey and date celebrities, too.)

At any rate, as much as I complained about Lance's comeback, I also admitted that I'd be cheering for him every chance I got. But not everyone is. There's been a tremendous amount of backlash from the cycling community and I've been reading some of it.

Yesterday, there was an article on the L.A. Times blog called "Everybody hates Lance Armstrong—so take a number, cyclists." The article itself is pretty bland, and doesn't contain much news. It mostly discusses what he's been doing since he stopped cycling and how he holds grudges. The most ignorant part of this article, however, was this part: "Yet, instead of shrugging their shoulders and coming to the logical conclusion that Armstrong is an aging athlete who's way out of shape and impossibly unable to become competitive again—and therefore is not worth worrying about—a surprising number of cyclists have chosen to criticize the comeback."

That's a logical conclusion? I'll give the writer of the article the fact that Lance is old by cycling standards (although I find it irritating since he's only two years older than me), but is she forgetting the fact that he's a superhuman phenomenon who dominated the sport a mere three years ago? Or that he has grit and determination rarely seen in other mortals?

Of course, the holding a grudge part certainly seems to be true. That being said, he may be successful just to prove all his critics wrong.

1 comment:

Di said...

I don't really care about his personality. Actually, I prefer not to know much about any celebrity because I almost always find myself being very disappointed, and then it is difficult to enjoy their work. They are entertainers, and I prefer to keep them that way.

Lance is most certainly a cycling God. I credit him with the unusual strength to fight through incredible amounts of pain and to exercise great self control. That is something that most people really don't understand and can't even begin to fathom. Even for those who have been proven to dope, they still put in much more of the effort and time than most others could handle.

I like Lance for this completely impersonal (in relation to him) reason: he inspires me. (You know, I should be writing this on my blog since I have writer's block.) ;-) During all of my races, I thought about certain things in Lance's training book that helped me along. Thinking of him doing it helps me to do it as well.

I never watched the TdF until someone popped some DVDs in for our commute to a race. I loved it. When I tried watching it without him, I just couldn't. I had no one to cheer for who inspired me and affected me at a personal level in my athletic life.

I, for one, am thrilled that he is returning. :-)