I can’t imagine how alone all these people felt when they watched us naively suck up the hero image of Lance Armstrong and they knew the truth. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to know the truth and want to help the sport, to help us. Travis Tygart fought the battle the way he knew he needed to while the entirety of the United States trashed him for being a bully and a fraud and fighting an unfair battle. The list of people whose lives were impacted by Lance Armstrong’s lies is uncountable. From honest individuals defending law suits and their families from his wrath to cancer patients lost in the wake of a false idol, he has bruised nearly all of us.
At first I thought this battle was a bad idea. I felt ignorance was bliss.
Mostly I believed it to be safest to avoid removing his influence on helping cancer patients. But I realize that those who place their will to survive on an idol are ignoring the strength that is within each of us as individuals. It is like placing morality in the hands of a metaphysical being instead of within ourselves. Survive cancer because Lance could; love thy neighbor because Jesus did. Idols like Lance and gods pale in comparison to the power of the individual and that is the inspiration I want cancer patients to be aware of. Let’s separate Lance from cancer. His attachment to that disease truly could have been a defense to keep us from seeing the real Lance. Cancer sucks but Lance need not be synonymous with anti-cancer and for that I think we can see that Lance and cancer both are diseases that we should look to dispose of. That I lost my one reason to maintain this false idol was enough justification for me to support Tygart and all the others who fought to expose the truth.
We are inclined as a species to deceive ourselves and the lies of Lance were no exception. I feel exhausted for Betsy Andreu. For nearly two decades she has known the truth but no one would listen. When the truth was exposed, Lance refused to formally apologize. While I cannot imagine such pain in the face of millions of Lance-crazed supporters, I know what it is like to know the truth but have no audience. I know what it is like to be treated poorly because of refusal to remain ignorant. For my entire childhood, I refused to worship Lance and after a brief stint of respect for the fallen Michael Rasmussen, refused to worship anyone or anything. But I was in the dark along with the rest of humanity of the real story of Lance. Now I’m aware and while the truth may sting a little, it is infinitely better than being deceived. For that I am forever thankful for those who willingly fight a lonely battle against lies, ignorance, and deceit.