Gratitude makes the journey better. Kindness, too.

This Is What I Think – This Time Is About Lance

I wear a yellow Livestrong bracelet. I am not a cancer survivor but I have close ones who are or are still fighting this terrible disease. It is a message I choose to carry because of them . Livestrong is Lance Armstrong’s foundation. I read two of Lance Armstrong’s books and I admire him. That’s right. The man who is facing a serious barrage of questions and federal inquiries about possible doping during the Tour de France competitions. Also, a bunch of questions about his foundation: It is a cancer-related foundation, but is it contributing to cancer research or is merely another way of promoting the man who has already made a big name for himself. I am personally getting tired of seeing this. I have been in a couple of races involving cycling a few times, and I take my bike out for rides in both hot and cold weather, windy or sleety or all of the above. I rode uphill and felt that my legs will fall off. Luckily they didn’t but I gained a whole different perspective on people who do it at a professional level and people who ride for various causes, personal and otherwise. It’s tough TOUGH. And I humbly admit to barely scratching the surface myself.

All I can say about this combined bashing is this. About the cycling/doping part: What he did is outstanding. Whether he did or did not use performance-enhancing drugs makes no difference in how I see him. He inspired me and he inspired many others, I am sure, but in the the interest of keeping with the title of my post I’ll just say me for now. He did and I am thankful for that.

As for the alleged self-promotion through Livestrong, here’s what I think. The man beat cancer. Not only that, he chose to share his experience by writing about it and then he put together a foundation that helps and supports people with cancer. I keep reading stories of people who were so inspired by Lance Armstrong that they not only beat cancer but also participated in various races afterwards. The naysayers among you will say, well, maybe there’s lots of others who did that too and they have no idea what Livestrong is. Sure there are. I hope there’s lots of them. But that’s beside the point I am trying to make. My point is this: If Lance Armstrong helped at least one person beat cancer by inspiring them with his example and through his foundation, then I cannot fault the man for being who he is, the face behind the foundation. A typical case of one hand washes the other or rather one hand helps the other? Even so. The world would be a better place if more of us would so the same, reaching out in ways that inspire others to do something good for themselves and pay it forward. Whatever happens as a collateral effect of that, well, I’d say we’re missing the goodness if we choose to focus too much on it.

Why do we feel the need to take these people down? Envy? Perhaps. No one is perfect and yet we want them to be. Even then, having no stones to throw, someone will find a pebble or two to hurl at them. But why not celebrate and appreciate the goodness people bring instead of trying to kick them in the shins? I see a lot of indifference around me on a regular basis. I say it without any false pretenses that I am never indifferent. I strive not to be but being human comes with faults. If someone chooses to be less indifferent and makes a dent that means the world to at least one person I’d say we should let them live. Call me biased, I might as well be. But I choose to stick with the bright side in this case because it really did make some areas of my life brighter.

Bottom line? I’ll keep wearing my yellow bracelet and as soon as I’m cast-free I’ll celebrate with a bike ride. If the hill proves too steep, one of the things I’ll peek at for some much needed wind at my backĀ  will be that yellow LIVESTRONG strip. So there.


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  1. My thoughts and feelings towards Lance are possibly a little complicated. I think he is awesome and I look up to him for all he has done. I’ve heard the stories and choose to remain of the opinion that what he has done for cycling and cancer is more than enough to make him a superstar.

    But I also feel that he might not be completely honest with all he has said over the years. I can’t say for sure, but any athlete at his level is likely doing something to help keep them at the top. So he might not have been clean, but neither were the rest of the guys he raced against.

    But enough about that. What Lance has done for the sport is amazing….he’s definitely a big part of why I’m Loving the Bike today. For that I am forever grateful to him and will continue to think of him as one of the greatest champions and cyclists of all time.


    • I agree, Darryl, things are a bit complicated when you look up close, and although I am nitpicking to the point of driving myself nuts, this is one of those situations where I put things in perspective and lay any exaggerated righteousness to rest. I take the good parts and the inspiration and roll with it. Sometimes deconstructing someone like Lance will simply not do good :-).

  2. Krissy

    Great post! I agree 100% with you. I’ve read the books, the articles, and heard what fans and those that don’t like him have to say about Lance and the only thing I care about is that he is someone who fights. He is without a doubt one of my heroes. Anyone who steps foot in my apartment can tell instantly who my favorite cyclist of all time happens to be. But I don’t wear yellow for him. Like you I wear it for family and friends who I’ve seen fight, beat, or even fall to cancer. LiveStrong to me is not about Lance, even if he is the face most often tied to it. LiveStrong is about fighting, being brave, not giving up- and I think that mantra can be applied in every aspect of life no matte what challenge one faces. I haven’t had cancer, but I’ve battled addiction, and there are somedays that all it takes is for me to see that bracelet (that I NEVER take off) and it reminds me that I’m stronger than any addiction.

    What if Lance doped? What if he has used LiveStrong to boost his appearance to the public? My reply to both is: So what? If people think that Lance is the only guy who may or may not have doped, they are sadly mistaken. Here’s my take: Lance beats cancer, Lance starts a foundation, Lance becomes the face of hope to millions of people who have heard the words “you have cancer.” And Lance wins 7 Tours de France. When you have people looking up to you, I think the natural reaction is to do you best; to win, and however Lance was able to accomplish those wins, he stayed the face of hope. LiveStrong grows a result of Lance’s successes and is able to help more people….. To me, it’s just a succession of events that one would expect to occur if everything goes right.

    I wear yellow. I don’t care if people don’t like it- I don’t wear it for them. I wear it for those who need strength to get through whatever it is that they are going through.

    • Thank you, Krissy! Great way of looking at it for sure. I feel bad whenever I read about this issue. On one hand we want to be fair, to encourage fairness in sports and on the other hand we see someone who has achieved so much and then more than the regular professional athlete. It’s a tough one but I choose to stand by what i said in my post. Glad I’m not alone :-)!

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