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January 25, 2013 / ristyka

When you Lose a Hero…..

For all of you that know me well, know that my lifelong athletic hero was Lance Armstrong.  I proudly sported my yellow wrist band for almost 6 straight years without taking it off.

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The famous band……

Lance Armstrong was my idol for a number of reasons:

1) He was an amazing athlete.

2) He was able to overcame testicular cancer and go on to not only win 7 Tour de France races, but also become a huge advocate for cancer research.

3) He was the “brains” behind one of the most successful cancer charities in America.

4) He always appeared to be brash with the press and, quite frankly, not put up with anyone’s bullshit.  I liked that.  It was something I wished I could do…..you know, not put up with people’s BS.

5) His focus and determination.  I would watch him in interviews and when he would talk about his training his focus and determination were unwavering.

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My hero…….

His athletic successes made me believe in myself.  Obviously, I am not nor ever will be on the same stage as Lance Armstrong.  However, he made me believe I could do better.  I could commit more.  I could push harder.  I could overcome more.  To me, wearing that yellow bracelet symbolized strength.  That bracelet became my strength.  I never took it off.  Ever.  When I had to “dress up,” I would hide it under a chunky bracelet.  When I was told at the hospital when I was delivering Ally that I “needed to take it off,” I said No.  It became a part of me.  Then, about a month or so ago, I was getting out of the shower and as I pulled it over my watch, it broke.  I actually stood there stunned.  I was stunned and I started to cry.  I had tied so much of my strength into this little yellow band.  Now what?  Well, I had a replacement band I wore instead for a couple of weeks.  Then, the rumors began to circulate about the “confession.”

I watched the interview with Oprah completely stunned.  I cried, my heart raced for him when he was asked a tough question, and I also laughed a couple of times when Oprah would reference some of the comments he has made in the past.  The bottom line is, since then, I have not been able to get him out of my mind, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s a combination of things….losing a hero, losing my idea of “strength,” feeling lied to, cheated, disrespected, hurt, etc…..  I think I am still i n a state of shock and I continue (believe it or not) to try and defend him.  “Well, everyone was doping,” or “he would have won anyway,”  even “maybe he was put up to this whole confession bit?”  Obviously, I know this is all irrational and he cheated, lied, and used drugs to win all of his Tours.  I am just so sad.  I want my hero back.

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The interview……

One would think that I would dislike Lance Armstrong now, but I don’t.  Sadly, I still think he is an awesome athlete and I admire his determination to continue training as hard as he is when he basically has no chance of ever being in a USADA sanctioned event.

Most of all, I’m sad that when I ripped on the NBA for all of their thugs, and ripped Ray Lewis for being a murderer and having 6 kids with 4 different women, I used Lance Armstrong as the other side of the equation.  I no longer have a hero, but I also lost my example and the other side of the equals sign.

Presently, I am undecided if I will buy another yellow band.  Currently, I am “band-less.”  I still believe in the mission of LiveStrong and I hope they can succeed without Lance Armstrong.  For that reason, I am thinking about buying another band.

I also think I have found a couple new examples of strength……and wouldn’t you know they were right in front of my face all along….

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