Bike Rides: Dance ArmstrongPublished 6:47pm Friday, February 1, 2013
By Dan Urlick
I’ve never really been a fan of the “sport” of cycling so much as I am a fan of the “hobby.” Whenever asked sport related questions I find myself awkwardly dancing around the conversation. Usually I fake a phone call or make a sudden move for the restroom to occupy myself (and a stall) until the conversation eventually turns back to 80’s music, so I can hold my own again.
“De do do do, de da, da, da, is all I want to say to you”
But as any good faker knows, you can only keep your silence so long before someone finally catches you without your phone or between heads and your cover is blown. With this uneasy scenario in mind I decided to take the very drastic measure of tuning in OWN to watch Lance Armstrong pedal his confession to America’s lady Pope of pop TV, Oprah Winfrey.
I’ve always been indifferent to Lance, his foundation and the Tour de France. Since watching Lance and Oprah’s HD dalliance I’m still indifferent to the latter two, but as for Armstrong himself, I now believe he’s a jerk.
It’s not that he juiced in the first place. I’m aware most or even all competing in the era did this. When we assign unlimited fame, fortune and endorsements to our beloved sports figures, what often surfaces for our money aren’t heroic winners but oxymoronic elitists, exhibiting the most repulsive of human tendencies.
We now know baseball was nothing more than an elaborate chemistry experiment during the famed Sosa/MicGwire homerun era. Not to be outdone, professional football produced a bounty hunting scandal that rivaled mafia tactics. Professional golf of all things exploded into controversy when Tiger’s wife may have bludgeoned him with his own pitching wedge during a heated domestic out in the cul-de-sac. That story is just wrought with iron-y.
Are we really going to continue to act surprised every time one of our esteemed “heroes” in this country turns out to be a liar and a cheat? Turns out, after all, to be human?
What really makes Lance stand out though in this generation of spoiled, corrupt, cheating athletes is his reaction. Sure they all deny it at first but when most famous liars get nailed down and notice the dance floor is getting a little lonely, it doesn’t take long for them to see the truth is the only safe way back to their seat, back to obscurity. So at last they spill it, usually to some elite media figure and probably with compensation too. Confess on a network stage, take your kicks from the ordained host, wipe your tears on your sleeve, pick up your check at the door and the bi-cycle of sin begins all over again.
Although this is the route he alas rode in the end, Lance’s sluggish contrition is a half decade behind the rest of his team and only comes after plan-A, waltzing over the toes and throats of anyone who threatened his dance space including his close friends, finally failed.
Intoxicated by success, Lance simply stayed on the dance floor way too long. Long after everyone else in the house had taken a seat, long after the music stopped and the bar had closed. Long after the lights came on, Lance Armstrong two-stepped alone with his eyes closed behind the backs of his friends like a drunken barroom regular on Saturday night, completely lacking in grace and humility.
Even in his “confession” there seems to be an ongoing membrane of deceit that tightly constricts Lance’s conscience like a thin layer of ball binding Lycra. Yet Lance continues to dance right through the discomfort and pain, all alone on the floor, in his biking shorts, as if nothing matters as long as he’s in first place.
“De do do do, de da da da
They’re meaningless and all that’s true.”
Traffic Tip: I’d recommend everyone, including Lance, try a Bike Ride sometime.
See unedited Bike Rides columns at dansbikerides.com
Hear Bike Rides from your radio Fridays, 1p.m. on KMSK, 91.3 FM
Dan Urlick is a resident of Austin and his column runs once a month in the Herald.