Okay Reagan, I was so with you…I was all “Tell me something we don’t know, Lance. Quit flattering yourself. No one cares. I can’t even believe Oprah is descending from her throne to interview this jerk-off. As if I’m going to watch. I think Vanderpump Rules is on at the same time.”
And then Thursday rolled around. And I started seeing a bajillion tweets about said interview and I thought “Well maybe I’ll just tune in- check it out- and turn it off after about five…It’s a pop culture event, and I am nothing if not interested in pop culture…”
And then. Then I found myself watching the whole 90 minute interview and not just watching it, but continually thwacking my husband on the arm saying “Did you hear that? This guy is UN.REAL. I mean, unreal.” And by the end of the two day 150 minute interview, here is why I care.
1) It’s really not about the doping. It’s not. Sounds like everyone was doing it and while that isn’t a reason or an excuse to take part- I don’t know that it’s really as controversial as we are making it. I would even go as far as saying that if everyone was doping- the playing field was level- and he still won. SEVEN TIMES.
2) It’s about him ruining people’s lives. Lots of people. So many people he can’t even recall exactly who, or how many people, he sued in an effort to get them to shut up about his doping problem.
3) It’s about how brazenly he dashed the idea of hope for millions of people who bought into his story. Cancer fighters and survivors EVERYWHERE saw him as something to believe in. They grabbed on so tightly to the idea of this human, this mere mortal, that not only beat a very advanced case of cancer, but then went on to do super human things. Lance Armstrong gave people something to believe in…and I would imagine that in many ways, that feels gone.
4) It’s about his family and his friends and how heartbroken his kids must be in realizing that their dad, the man they surely saw as a hero, had been lying to them and the world for YEARS…putting them in the awkward situation of having to perpetuate the lie day in and day out at school.
5) But what it’s really about for me, is the fact that the guy is clearly only sorry he got caught. He has to be a sociopath. There must be something wrong with him. In the whole 150 minute interview, there was ONE moment where he truly seemed troubled by what he had done. ONE.
And so I actually care about the whole Lance Armstrong mess. And not because of cycling. It’s true, no one cared about cycling before, so I’m sure the world will be fine after. I care because he has affected, and even ruined, the lives of so many…he has squelched the hope that people have tightly been holding on to in an effort to get through some of the darkest times…and the amazing thing is that he shows so little feeling about it that he seems to be telling a story that is not even his own. He hasn’t OWNED any of it.
In my mind, he will not be the guy that was stripped of 7 titles because of his incessant cheating and doping…he will be the guy that told a lie that so consumed him, that in the end, that is all he really is.