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Bob Lobel: The Lesson of Lance Armstrong

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


How does Lance Armstrong do it? That question has been following him around for as long as we can remember.

Now the question is “How is Lance Armstrong going to do it and why?” Come clean, that is. Trial balloons have been floated that the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner, will soon own up to what all the evidence has said: he did things outside the rules to win those titles. The fact that the balloons have been floated is proof enough that a confession of biblical proportion is on its way.

We know what will happen when that happens. Disgrace becomes honesty. The fallen hero becomes a talk show darling and author again. The spotlight he obviously misses will be back on him and he will finally be hailed as a courageous hero facing his inner demons. It’s a different type of hero for sure.

Ironically, it’s a hero of more stature because it involves personal triumph over physical triumph. Moral leaders are harder to find than hall of famers. Lance will enter the world of “finding God.” There will be apologies and talk shows. Mended friendships and talk shows. Revelations of how and why, and talk shows. Books will be flying off the shelves and Lance Armstrong will be vindicated in the court of public opinion as a victim instead of a victor.

This could be the start of something big. A generation of cheaters may soon become a generation of miners for morality. It's what we celebrate as a society. Right or wrong, a well-placed “I'm sorry” always seems to trump what you needed to be sorry for. You'll probably see it this week when the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees are going to be announced.

Most everyone I have talked to or read from say that no one, zero, nada will be getting in from that ”toxic ballot” including Clemens, Bonds, Piazza, Shilling, etc. All suffer at the hands of a few. So they wait a year or more. At least when the numbers are released (75 percent needed to get in), we will have a benchmark for the effect of performance enhancing drug usage on the self-appointed judges of what's right and what's wrong.

Obviously, the public could care less. Baseball has never been healthier or wealthier. Lance will probably argue that he had to do what he did to compete. Good one. If baseball all-stars were going to come clean, they would certainly say the same thing. “It was available.” “I have a family to feed.” “I didn’t think I would get caught.”

In our little universe of sport, getting caught is the sin, not the act itself.

P.S. on this week: hockey returns to boos? Cheers? Empty buildings? Sold out games? All or none of the above… I like the scenario where the Bruins are booed when they first take the ice until the fans realize they are actually there watching the team they're booing.

One more thing to ponder: It might only be me, but if you don’t bet on the NFL or don’t have a fantasy team or two, are these games becoming boring? Have we reached our limit? Do we need to bet or have a fantasy team to stay interested? Do we start to get interested when the Patriots play in Denver in a week? That’s a game that’s bigger than the Superbowl. But that’s a subject for next week. Good luck, Lance. You obviously don’t need it since you have us all figured out by now. 


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