Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Say it ain't so, Floyd. Say it ain't so.

It seems inevitable that his "B" sample test will confirm Floyd Landis as the first champion of the Tour de France to be officially identified as a cheat. For this to be the memory of the man who carried the hopes of so many of us funny-looking guys on his handlebars isn't shocking or terrible. We've known that the Tour, among many other professional sports, is thoroughly permeated with drugs and doping.

It's just sad.

If sports are about anything, they are about stepping out from the gray uncertainty that characterizes our everyday lives into a land where there is a place, and a moment, of absolute clarity. Where someone, or a team of someones, is faster, stronger, better...than they - and everyone else - thought they could be. Where, for just a moment, the everlasting claque about who does what to whom and for how much and why can be still.

We know that professional sports isn't about this. That it is much like the world outside: just people, struggling, trying to get a little more than they had, taking their goals and their seconds where and how they can. But we like to narrow our eyes and pretend that these men and women are just a little bigger, a little stronger, a little...better...than we are. That a lumpy faced funny-looking guy can jump on a bike and ride up mountains like, well, like a hero.

Until we find that our hero may have been fueled, not by desire, heart and will, but by 100mg of androgel...

And then all we can do is stand there with that helpless, bereft look on our faces, like Smokey the Bear watching all the forests in the world burn down.

No comments: