Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Silver Lining

Enough already. Now it's Iban Mayo.
I'm trying to stay positive and find an upside to all of this. It's hard but I think I've come around and thought of two reasons for why this year's doping scandal has a silver lining.
Reason #1: The Baseball Hall of Fame.
The induction of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn into the Hall of Fame, was a marvelous and totally deserved honor for both the players and for baseball - but it may be the last for quite a while. Scandal is brewing among the players and writers who vote on the inductions about what to do with the coming crop of players from "The Steroid Years". Some are saying that they will never vote for someone they believe to have 'juiced', so Mark McGwire may have a long wait - and baseball may have 15 years of controversy to suffer through because they lacked the balls to test their own players until 2002.
At least that won't happen to cycling. You could argue that it was a gutsy move to stick it out and publicly renounce any and all riders who don't ride 'clean'. The sport's image has taken a beating, but I do feel like they mean it. (finally)
Reason #2: This has finally motivated me to read through that whole crop of cycling biographies that started coming out during the Lance era. I just couldn't face it in the beginning. The total Lance overkill. One must study the Greeks when learning western philosophy, and so, one must read up on Lance Armstrong in order to get a grip on the scandals of cycling today.
I read Floyd's book, "Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France" and followed it with Lance's first book, "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life".
I don't feel like debating Floyd's guilt or innocence - I know it's unfair, but at the height of a scandal, everyone gets tarred by the same brush - the brush of suspicion. His book is not written with any panache, but it does outline the insanity of how international drug testing in the sport of cycling is done - or screwed up, in his opinion. The argument for restructuring the system and his call for a true cyclers union is very persuasive.
Lance's best seller is a page-turner. Well written and not too syrupy sweet, it's a clear-eyed tale of a cancer patient's initial denial and later acceptance of his mortality and his will to survive.
As much as I've always admired Lance Armstrong as an athlete, the Only Lance, All The Time years gave me a very low threshold of tolerance for 'stories about Lance'. I couldn't even watch the Ted Koppel special with Leroy Sievers because of Lance overkill, but this book has cured me - now, I'm interested.
Next in line, "Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France"

For those of you who don't know, Leroy Sievers was the executive producer of Nightline with Ted Koppel, and has been a journalist for more than 25 years. He was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic colon cancer 20 months ago and has been writing a blog on NPR called "My Cancer".
Leroy Rocks!


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