By now Mongolian nomadic tribes and Sumatran hunter-gatherers know that Lance Armstrong cheated. Despite the fact, he inexplicably continued to have some very vocal supporters long after the crowds had become disillusioned and moved on. Among them was the columnist Buzz Bissinger. That all changed yesterday morning in “The Daily Beast” when Bissinger published a fierce, seething piece of public penance titled “I was deluded to believe Lance Armstrong when he denied doping.” The following passage, in particular, grabbed my attention:
“I liked it when he [Armstrong] sent me a tweet of appreciation after I had written a previous column condemning the federal government for the millions it spent going after professional athletes for illegal use of performance enhancers (I still believe the money was wasted). I liked telling my son, Caleb, who idolized Armstrong, that ‘you will never guess who tweeted me.’ My only solace is that my son, like so many others who looked up to Armstrong, now hates him.” (emphasis added)
Ouch. Once the hero of countless young boys, the apogee of the Wheatie Box pyramid, the chosen image for the dictionary definition of “hero”, Armstrong is now the object of fury and loathing. Man, that hurts.
It is easy to lose the scope of a lie this big, one that pulled in untold numbers of people, organizations, events, and dollars. It is impossible to quantify all the pain, bitterness, disillusionment, disappointment.
And then this image focuses it all with a laser point: a little boy who looked up to Lance Armstrong, who once idolized him, has now traded that adulation for hatred. How very sad.
Yes, it definitely sucks to be Lance.