I don’t expect people to be perfect, especially celebrities, but Lance Armstrong is now officially an asshole in my mind. Officially.
I follow football casually, I don’t pretend to follow baseball, and I actually watch Le Tour when I have the chance; I’ve even seen the Tour of California whizz past a few times.
I haven’t been shocked or upset when athletes have been accused or admitted to doping. I mean, come on, Mark McGuire wasn’t fooling anybody. I can still picture his Got Milk ad on my friend’s wall in high school with biceps bigger than my waist.
So maybe my hurt and anger stems from the fact that Lance really meant (means?) something to me in many ways. First, my partner Brian was a cyclist in college and he got me interested in watching the sport. In 2005, we watched the Tour de France in a bar as we celebrated our second anniversary together. I watched Lance win most of his seven TDF titles. He was amazing, and he seemed unstoppable.
More importantly, Lance is an inspiration for cancer patients and survivors all over the world, including me. I heard his story about having testicular cancer and his incredible recovery and it energized me. Hell, this guy is my gonad soulmate and I just knew we were meant to make sweet, sweet post-cancer babies with what remained of our reproductive systems. I wore his yellow Livestrong bracelet in college and I still carry it with me everywhere I go on my keychain.
Again and again Brian and I heard about Lance passing blood test after blood test. People were always hounding him, saying his success was too good to be true, and his answers were always consistent. I believed in this guy, and I believed in what he stood for. I think what makes me the most upset is not that he doped, but that he lied about it. And he lied about it for SO LONG. Even after his teammates started being exposed or coming clean, I thought I could count on Lance. Shame on you.
I still have the yellow bracelet on my keychain, but I don’t think our gonads will be getting together any time soon.