Never have I hoped and prayed that a statement was truer!
You would have had to live in a cave not to hear the news this past week about Lance Armstrong. And those who know me well, know that I have always been a very passionate supporter of LIVESTRONG as well as Lance. To put it plainly, he is a hero of mine. But the reason, as the title of one of his book says, It’s Not About the Bike. Sadly, I am not sure he necessarily believes that statement, but that is another story. For me, it never was about the bike. It was about LIVESTRONG and the community of support within LIVESTRONG and all the work they do and have done over the years.
I received countless emails and phone calls over the past week asking if I was OK. Listen, I am disappointed in the man. But with age comes wisdom as they say. And especially in the past handful of years, I have come to realize that you can’t and shouldn’t ever put too much faith in Mankind. You will always be left with some disappointment and/or hurt.
But the organization, LIVESTRONG, has become more than Lance. Better said, it became more than Lance a longtime ago. Evidenced by Nike’s decision to drop Lance but maintain their unwavering support of LIVESTRONG. Kudos to Nike on both counts.
One particularly bothersome email to me read, “Have you received any flack for all the fundraising you did all those years for that cheater’s organization?” I decided not to respond, but let me say this, “No, you freaking idiot!”
The truth is, I am not only proud of the nearly $100K I have personally raised over the years, but also honored and thankful for the vehicle that LIVESTRONG provided me to raise money that went directly towards helping those who are and have been affected by this dreaded disease. Every year from 2002 through 2011, I was blessed to have the health and opportunity to ride “In Honor of” and/or “In Memory of” many friends and loved ones — and many of yours too.
Whether Lance, the man, ever comes to grip with this or not, he inspired something much greater than he even ever aspired to be personally. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it appears his own pride and strive for personal greatness caught up with him. My only hope is that the humility he felt back in 1996 when he was first diagnosed is something he can still find inside himself. It would help him on a human level more than he might remember.
But the organization, the Village that is LIVESTRONG still stands strong and hopefully will continue to.
In the end, YES I am disappointed like anyone who lifts another person up to a very high pedestal only to see them fall in disgrace. It does suck, but it’s only to be expected when you think about it.
To the other 40 or so who sent me messages last week, thanks for “getting it.”
LIVESTRONG! And thanks for reading something entirely non-trade show related. 🙂