May 26, 2013 § 57 Comments
Newsflash: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of…pretty much everything.
Tour titles? Gone.
Income stream from his cancer foundation? Gone.
Ability to compete in sanctioned athletic events and the attendant income? Gone.
Mansion in Austin? Gone.
Self-respect after not getting hugged by Oprah? Totally gone.
Bonus newsflash: It’s not over yet. The Justice Department has joined Floyd’s whistleblower suit…former sponsors are suing to get their money back…he will be paying for his transgressions for a long, long time.
I don’t know about you…
But I believe in redemption. Not the Shawshank kind — I believe in the kind of redemption that says once you’ve been punished for your transgressions according to rule and/or law, you’re redeemed.
This type of redemption may not mean that you’re a sterling moral character, or even that you admit guilt or feel sorry for what you’ve done. It just means that you broke the rule, got punished, and are now free to move on just like new. Something worthless has been exchanged for something useful and new. Just like a coupon.
When you murder someone, rape someone, abuse a child, defraud the elderly, skim from the company till, or run a red light, your redemption begins when you’ve served your time or paid your fine. Redemption means trading in the old for the new. It means a fresh start.
And in case you were wondering, along with the punishment fitting the crime, redemption is the premise upon which our entire legal system is built.
Redemption gives convicted felons the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a passport, and the right to fully participate as citizens once they’ve served their time. Redemption doesn’t mean you have to like the sinner or the ex-con. It just means you can’t legally continue punishing and persecuting him.
Lance is no convicted felon. If you don’t think he’s been punished, see above. If you’re still harboring resentment and anger, that’s understandable. But he’s not going anywhere, and I’d suggest that there’s a better way to deal with him than continually bludgeoning him for his transgressions.
It’s an old concept, actually. It’s called forgiveness.
Cranking up the PR machine
Lance has recently begun doing what he does best: Going on the offensive. Whether it’s calling Patrick Brady and chatting with him for an hour or unblocking Lesli Cohen and a bunch of other diehard Lance opponents, it’s clear that he has a plan in place and has begun to execute it.
What’s the plan?
The plan is to get back in front of the sports media and build Lance 3.0. This newest iteration is simple. Lance 3.0 is a…
- Family man.
- World class athlete.
What will Lance 3.0 do? He will sell something. What will he sell? I don’t know. But I do know this: He won’t be setting up a pyramid scheme to defraud Medicare, or a criminal syndicate to assassinate journalists. Most likely, he’s got a plan that will let him earn a living as a speaker/athlete/patient advocate.
Is that so bad? How many other people get out of prison and see their mission in life as one dedicated to helping others? Mind you, I don’t know that that’s his plan, but what does he have left? And why is it contemptible for him to try and rebuild a career that’s been destroyed through his own mistakes?
Ultimately, though, does it really matter what his end game is? No.
What matters is you
A group of local riders were climbing Latigo Canyon Road yesterday, and guess who they met at the top? Barry Bonds.
He’s the guy who was held up as one of the most evil and crooked baseball players of all time, a guy who stole Hank Aaron’s record on the strength of drugs and lies. Today he’s a slim and fit bicycle rider.
When the gang ran into him on Latigo, no one cringed, or cursed him, or called him a scumbag doper. Instead, they mugged for the camera and posted photos on Facebook.
First, of course, is star power…and we are here in LA. Second, though, is the fact that Barry has paid for what he did, and he didn’t even go on Oprah and confess. We know that he was caught, that he’s been punished, and that now he’s just a dude on a bike who used to hit a lot of home runs. Our lives are too short to keep hating on a guy who’s been punished to the full extent that the system demanded, particularly since all he seems to do now is pedal around, show up at the occasional crit, and generally act like a normal dude.
We’re done with his crime, and so is he. Now we just want to say hello and ride our bikes.
What about Lance?
Lance is different from Barry because the latter earned hundreds of millions of dollars and wisely invested them over the course of a long career. Barry doesn’t have to work.
Lance has five kids, huge ongoing legal bills, and a lot of years left to live. It’s impossible that he’s got anywhere near the pile that Barry is sitting on, or even anything close to it. Unlike Barry, Lance has gotta work. Rather than pulling up the drawbridge and living inside the fort, Lance has got to get out and mingle in order to rebuild.
For people getting out of prison and living in halfway houses, it’s called “You have to get a job.”
Lance showed us that pro cycling is a corrupt freak show. Danilo di Luca confirmed yesterday that it still is. Nibali, Wiggins, Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome, Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, and USA Cycling reaffirm that anyone who thinks the sport is clean isn’t thinking very hard.
If you hate Lance because he “ruined the sport,” maybe it’s time YOU moved on. The pro sport is rotten. If you follow it and still bury your head in the jocks of its stars, there’s a problem all right, and the problem is with you. If you can watch Nibali repeatedly hit the gas in the snow at the end of the most grueling stage of the most grueling stage race while his competition is rolling over and dying on the slopes, you’re the one who needs to analyze my modification of this old saw: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over and over, and I’m a fucking moron who enjoys being fooled.”
As Billy Stone might put it, “And the dopers ruined your life as a Cat 4 masters athlete exactly how?”
Where’s it all going?
Now that Lance 1.0 and 2.0 have been airbrushed out of the history books, what’s wrong with giving 3.0 the same degree of redemption that should be afforded to axe murderers, tax cheats, misdemeanor DUI’s, and kids on grade probation in college? How is our agenda advanced by refusing to lay down arms, and instead insisting that he still be treated like the unrepentant, unpunished cheat that he was a year ago, when he’s repented and been punished?
Does it ennoble us to keep shrieking “Off with his head!” after his head has been offed, stuck on a pike, and paraded around his kids’ schoolyards? I think it does the opposite. It shows us up to be petty, vengeful dorks who actually think that pro cycling is so important it transcends common notions of justice and fair play.
Five years hence, ten years hence, Lance 3.0 will have been fully rebuilt. He’s that smart and a whole lot smarter, he’s that hard working, and he’s that motivated. He’s also got close to four million people on Twitter who want to know what he says and thinks, as well as five kids to feed, clothe, and put through college.
Most importantly, he’s not going anywhere. Do you want to be the wild-eyed crazy standing in the corner screaming, “But he doped! He cheated! He lied! He ruined my Cat 4 masters racing career!” long after he’s been punished and the rest of the world has moved on?
If the UCI and USA Cycling and WADA are done with his case, then I am, too. Keep clubbing at him if you want, but don’t expect me to join in. I’d rather go club some of the baby seals on next Tuesday’s NPR.
March 1, 2012 § 14 Comments
Well, it has been a fun 114 posts in the blogosphere, but apparently success has caught up with me. I applied for the job as managing editor at VeloNews.com in Boulder, Colorado, and was hired as of this morning. One condition of my new gig is that I can’t blog any more independently. This blog has received over sixteen million hits since it began little more than a year ago. What a tribute from the handful of slackers who check over and over to see if they’ve been mentioned, and whose places of employment don’t yet have SonicFirewall.
I thought it might be interesting for my half-dozen or so readers to see my job application and how I completed it as a sort of future reference, as the job will likely be vacant again soon.
- The requirement: Velo Magazine is seeking a managing editor. This is a full-time, salaried position with benefits, available immediately, based in Boulder, Colorado. My response: Sign me up but I gotta stay here in SoCal, dood. Can you move your offices and stuff out here? Boulder’s a shithole. Who wants to live in a place named after a rock? I mean Im sure its nice and all.
- The requirement: Candidates must have well-established experience in writing, editing, formatting and timely project management, as well as a firm understanding of all aspects of the sport of professional cycling — road, mountain, cyclocross and track. My response: I’m a gud ritter and spelchekker and got the biking shit down, bro. And here’s what I know, yo: Road is for MEN, mountain is for PUSSIES, ‘cross (not “cyclocross,” ya dooshheads) is for HARDMEN, track aint a sport unless you mean NASCAR and Im all over that shit.
- The requirement: Working closely with the editor-in-chief, the managing editor is responsible for the coordination, organization, control and completion of all aspects of editorial production, from raw material to finished publication, by maintaining effective communication among the editorial, design, production and ad sales departments. My response: Nobody fukkin tells me what to do.
- The requirement: Minimum skills required include a B.A. or advanced degree in journalism or related field, or equivalent work experience and working knowledge of Word, Excel and InCopy. My response: “Journalism” aint no fukkin “field” its a job description for dooshheads who want free swag in exchange for bullshit stories. I’m all in, dood. I am very nollegible about Words. Plus I Excel to. I can do everything In Copies if you show me how to work the fukkin machine but dont I get a couple hot secretaries for that shit?
- The requirement: Essential skills include project management, attention to detail, communication, creativity, people skills, multitasking and decision making, all within a deadline-driven environment. My response: Yah, detail shit, that’s me, cross every fukkin i and dot ever fukkin t you ever saw. Communication? Fuckin-a I will tell it like it is. Creativity, check. I can make shit up like nobodys busness. People skilz: chicks dig me, for sure. Multiasking? I can ask for all kinds of shit–“gimme another fuckin beer now”–cool huh? Decision making–fuckin’ a I am The Decider type guy. Beer or wine? Fukkin-a beer every time, DECIDED. Deadlines, check. They dont call me Ol’ Giterdone for nothin.
- The requirement: In addition, the ideal candidate is intimately familiar with major cycling acronyms/abbreviations. My response: What is this fukkin spel test or a mans job? UCI (United Cigarettes International), USAC (Underwater Society of Ass Kikkers), ASO (You need an ‘l’ in there, dooshheads, its a word, ‘also,’ duh), WADA (thats what you blow, dude, gross, this better not be some porn gig), NCCA (National Cigarette Checkers Assn), IMBA (In My Badass Apinion), HRM (Hot Rod Magazine), LBS (Lance & Betsy Showdown), TT (Tough Titty), KPH (I dont know this one, happy with your little bitch ‘gotcha’ crap now?), OTB (Oklahoma Turd Blossom), JRA (Jerks, Rags & Assholes), and, of course, DFL (Dont Forget the Lube).
- The requirement: The ideal candidate will be able to spell names like Frischknecht, Maaskant and Vinokourov from memory. My response: Why the fukk I gotta remembeer it if you just speled it for me?
- The requirement: The ideal candidate can list off every winner of the last 20 Tours de France. My response: What in the fukk are you talking about?
- The requirement: The ideal candidate is able to fix a flat tire in under 10 minutes, using only tire levers and a mini-pump. My response: The ideal chick is a 10 stripper who owns a liquor store and turns into a pizza at midnight, but good luck with that shit, too.
- The requirement: One last thing — a sense of humor always helps. My response: If I wnated to work with a bunch of fukkin clowns Id join the fukkin zoo.