Lance Cheated…And I Don’t Care

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Since the Arizona Cardinals season began to evaporate in Week 5 this year, I have done my level best to avoid as much of maybe my guiltiest pleasure of all…Sports Talk Radio. It was a refreshing few months, living in ignorance as the local hosts destroyed my favorite team, and while I suffered through every Sunday watching them lose (except to Detroit), the rest of my week was delightfully uninterrupted by hearing the poor performance of my dear Cardinals discussed Ad Nauseum. With the Cardinals season in the rearview mirror I figured I was now safe to once again begin listening to Sports Talk Radio. Unfortunately, after the BCS game I had to endure a week of my favorite childhood team, Notre Dame being destroyed for their poor performance against Alabama…once again re-thinking my self-imposed ban on Sports Talk Radio.

Alas, this week we have been treated to a number of new stories that make me forever want to turn the dial away from Sports Talk…once and for all enjoying a bit of blissful ignorance to what is going on in the sports world that I still very much love. ¬†Between Manti Te’O and his hoax and Lance Armstrong’s Oprah appearance and admission of guilt, it seems that I will more likely agree with an opinion shared on the air of MSNBC, than agree with what I have been hearing on sports talk with these two stories lately.

Frankly, I feel bad for both guys, but when it comes to Lance Armstrong, I just don’t care that he cheated. I have heard all the continual defenses of Lance…”everyone cheated, so of course he did…and that still proves he was the best in a dirty sport” and sure, I can see things that way, but that isn’t what I choose to focus on. Lance cheated at his chosen profession, and then lied about it…like pretty much every other top-flight cyclist of the last 15-20 years. He vehemently denied it, and he probably could have continued to hold out, choosing to focus the fact that he STILL has never officially failed a drug test. But Lance’s 7 Tour victories, are really but a small part of the story.

As I finished up my first cycle of chemotherapy in the Summer of 1999, barely able to graduate high school, Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France, and changed the face of cancer survivorship. While my battle was far from over, like millions of other Cancer survivors, their friends and families, I tied my survivorship and experience to that of Lance. “It’s Not About the Bike” is quite an apropos title for his first book…especially where we find ourselves today. Lance is/was a world class athlete, but he was a world class Cancer Survivor as well. The picture of the “Livestrong” bracelet that accompanies this post, is my own personal Livestrong bracelet. This is one of two I have worn every day since I received it in the mail in the Spring of 2004.

Through surgeries, hospital stays, my wedding, my daughter’s birth, my divorce…every single day, this thin strip of yellow rubber is in place on my right wrist…and it reminds me of where I have been, and what I experienced. More importantly, it reminds me of what a World Class athlete did while he was changing the sports landscape…he fundamentally changed the Cancer community…one yellow wristband at a time. I’m sure Livestrong will take a hit from all of this bad publicity, and people will continually water down Lance’s accomplishments when it comes to his Foundation and the Cancer community, but as a sports fan and a cancer survivor…I’m going to choose to be blissfully naive and focus on the fact that Lance Armstrong helped me survive my cancer…inspired me to take my Foundation further and make a bigger impact in the Cancer community than I thought possible.

Fortunately for me, an admission of guilt on Oprah’s couch will NEVER change that fact…Lance Armstrong may not be the beacon of sportsmanship we all thought, wished or hoped he was, but he continues to be a beacon of selflessness and charity, and maybe that is what we should focus on moving forward…

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