Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lance Armstrong's Endgame

WHEN I told my daughter that I believed that Lance Armstrong had doped, she didn't have much to say. She had more important things on her mind, had a big homework project going—writing a clerihew using her own name. But she knows in her 12-year-old way what Lance Armstrong means to me. She knows that I met him before she was born, that I spent most of a year away from her so I could follow him around the world and write a book about his comeback, that I think he, along with a few guys with funnier names she often can't remember, such as Coppi and Anquetil and Zoetemelk and Merckx, was beautiful on a bicycle. She's heard me talk, for years now, to and about people who confront cancer or their deaths or that of their beloved with more strength because of him. She knows that group includes her own mother. She knows I've been on television telling Jim Lehrer or Larry King or John Roberts that I believed he didn't dope or, sometimes, that we couldn't know if he'd ever doped. She knows that Armstrong has called our house and left messages and her friends overheard and thought that was really nuts so he must be cool even if her dad likes him. She knows that I am embarrassed to have once owned a signed Lance Armstrong lunch box. She knows that I talked to him last time I was down in Austin. She knows I've been sick to my stomach lately.

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