A few people have asked me what I think of Lance Armstrong. When there’s that much money tied up in a public career story, it is hard to not let the money outweigh the truth. And the more often you repeat a lie to the public and to yourself; you can eventually start to believe it… or at least not care as much about the truth.
What bothers me the most? It’s not the cheating. I’m bothered most about Lance’s casual approach to deception on a massive scale. He is following a long line of so-called sports heroes who manufacture an image for the world to worship. Then we learn later that they were not superhuman at all. In fact, they were not even nice humans. Just like Barry Bonds, Lance invited critics to go after him because apparently he was an arrogant jerk.
The saddest casualty in all this is the Livestrong charity, which is highly rated on accountability and transparency (unlike it superhero spokesperson.) It will likely dwindle and disappear, to the detriment of cancer patients who got a little closer to a cure. And I especially feel for the kids who got an extra lift in their spirit from believing in Lance’s story. What are they thinking now?
So let’s do this… look around at all the sports icons we have on a pedestal right now. You can throw in all the Hollywood and TV celebrities our society “follows” as well. These people are people. They are in a business that relies on success stories to sell tickets and sustain itself. Whether it’s an overnight success, a dynasty or a comeback, they are all still stories. Inconvenient details have been altered or omitted to help the story sell.
Let’s call it what it is. It’s show business. If you want to avoid disappointment, adjust your expectations accordingly. And as for you kids, there are plenty of hard-working heroes right in your neighborhood if you look for them. How do you know if they are real? They are usually the quiet ones keeping their stories to themselves.