I don’t really hate Lance Armstrong. Hate is a strong word. I hate a lot of things, like asparagus and SUV-driving housewives, but not Lance Armstrong. I do, however, dislike him an oddly intense way, one that might have a few psychoanalysts insisting that I actually love him. I’m also pretty sure that I’m the only American who feels this way. I cringe at the sight of a yellow wristband and I literally regurgitated on Thanksgiving Day when I saw him on stage with then-girlfriend Sheryl Crow during the Dallas Cowboys
half time show. A small fraction of these feelings do stem from my general disdain for the sport of cycling, but mostly they’re rooted in my loathing for the man himself, Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, media whore, champion athlete, fulltime dickface. Let me try and explain myself before the vultures tear me apart.
I didn’t always feel this way. Before Lance Armstrong got cancer I felt like most Americans did about him. I vaguely recognized him one week out of the year as our country’s best athlete in perhaps the sport we care about the least. But then he got cancer, and this was a terrible thing. Lest I’ve already been pegged as an insensitive asshole, I’d like to stress that I hate cancer. I am all for cancer research and cancer fund-raising; I feel that our nation does not do enough. Cancer and I, we’re not cool. So, with that said, I feel what Lance Armstrong did- beat cancer and become the most dominating force that cycling had ever seen- was truly amazing.
I was even a huge Lance Armstrong fan circa Tour de France win #4 or maybe #5. But then something changed. Armstrong started to get named in doping scandals. And if the Major League Baseball steroid meltdown taught us anything, it was that we should not blindly trust our record-breaking athletes, the so-called “best of the best”. If anything, questioning Armstrong should have made me a good American, a concerned nationalist worried about the integrity of our sports. Instead, Armstrong critics were seen as villainous expatriates in the eyes of the obtuse masses who looked at Lance’s run in the French Alps as payback for decades of ungratefulness in the wake of the World War I.
Before I continue, I have to admit that there is no proof that backs up the Lance Armstrong Steroid allegations. It’s all just hearsay or as the fake Christian rock band Collective Soul would say, “Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid.” He’s never failed a drug test, but I reserve my right to think that he’s guilty. I am a cynic and I will be cynical always, especially about extreme dominance in professional sports. This is baseball’s fault, I realize, and that’s kind of sad and ironic.
The real source of my scorn doesn’t emanate from Lance’s cycling career though. Off the bike, Armstrong has been a real jerk too. What was with that relationship with Sheryl Crow? The whole thing seemed like a media experiment designed to cross-pollinate the consumer audience of both stars. I hate when athletes try their hand at entertainment. The results are never pretty (See Shaq’s 1996 movie “Kazaam”). And it seems that Lance Armstrong has been slowly prepping himself for the move ever since he started poking Ms. Crow.
Armstrong recently split with Crow, but this didn’t slow the progression of his second career in show business. He recently hosted the Espy’s, ESPN’s annual award show. I didn’t watch.
Shit man, I don’t where my beef with Lance Armstrong come from. He’s just a product now, you know, like Cocoa Puffs or Swiffer WetJets. And don’t get me started about those stupid yellow wristbands, talk about a good-natured idea gone horribly wrong. At this point, they’re more a fashion statement than anything else. Most people pick them up at gas stations and convenient stores from unauthorized vendors. Sure, they’re fitting in, they’re kneeling down to the cock of a trend, but that money’s not going to cancer research. This isn’t Lance Armstrong’s fault, per say, but it makes me sick nonetheless. There’s better ways to raise money for a cause, ways that don’t sacrifice profits to the soulless vultures of the “get rich quick” countryside.
Whatever happened to bake sales and car washes?