Another batch of sorry
Lance Armstrong is fast becoming the Boss of the Apology.
Just yesterday we commented on the news of the Boss hitting two parked cars on a snowy suburban Aspen street after a holiday party.
The news story went viral for several reasons — it was Lance Armstrong, his girlfriend Anna Hansen initially tried to take the blame for driving, hit & run accident, possible alcoholic intoxication, cover-up, etc, etc. Nancy Amour (no love for Lance) got mad in USA Today and A Dr. Doni Wilson wrote into the Houston Chronicle and hammered him along with saying he owed her an apology for all the lies and deceit.
It was a rhetorical device for Wilson — she probably wasn’t literally expecting anything. But lo and behold, we woke up this morning, checked our iPhone and discovered a personal tweet message from Lance that he’d already apologized. And here you can see clearly see evidence of Lance’s positive transformation. It took him 15 years or so to apologize to Greg Lemond, Christophe Bassoons and Frankie Andreu. It took him only a day to say sorry to Amour. I’m not much on math but that’s gotta be a significant improvement, right?
Is it possible that Lance is working with an Apology Coach? Along with all the other high prices media specialists on his team, does he now have a Sorry Consultant? Has he been on youtube watching all those Wayne Dyer videos? Is he staying up late at night listening to Jack Cornfield at the Spirit Rock Meditation center talk about forgiveness meditation?
One of Armstrong’s many pluses is his inexhaustible supply of energy. He needs all that energy because given how many people he betrayed, there’s a lot of people to hand apologies. He tried a bulk apology on Oprah, but really for the last two years that’s part of his daily routine. Get kids off to school, meet with lawyers, apologize to people.
It has to be exhausting to owe so many people a sorry. At a certain point, you’d get ornery and worn out. Really? How many of these do I have to do — a million, five million, ten? Aren’t enough hours in the day, years in the calendar. If Lance had to fill out a timesheet everyday, he’d probably have an hour or two a day marked, call people, say sorry. You can image him in bed late at night, anna leaning in for a snuggle, Lance oblivious, going through his old phone contacts, one last sorry before bedtime. Has Lance considered calling his old ghost writer Sally Jenkins and doing another book — Every Apology Counts. My journey back to redemption
Which made us think this morning if we needed an apology for Lance. We don’t. Not anymore. We’re square and I’m fine with the relationship. As far as the doping and athletic decent, hey, that was old news for me ten years ago. I sorta feel like Lance must feel about his upcoming whistleblower case with the US Government about misleading the US Postal Service. When Lance was winning those seven Tours, I was thrilled, the memories were fantastic and I still have those intact. The news got out that he dopes and oh well, life ain’t a fairy tale. Seven big highs, one very depressing low, and then life is back to its natural balance.
I struggle with people who say Lance owes me an apology. Other than the people like Lemond and Emma O’Reilly and David Walsh, I don’t think anyone should need one. I think it speaks to the old school puritanism of Americans and their general good or evil, black or white orientation. Perhaps they should ask themselves why they think humans are perfect beings instead of amazing and flawed individuals, capable of great things and terrible things.
I tend to think many people are angry at Armstrong not for cheating and doping but because he made them feel stupid and gullible for believing it all. Rather than being embarrassed by their own need for cartoon heroes, they take it out on Lance — I’m mad at you for ruining my fantasies.
People take sports far too seriously and we also expect sport to be a refuge from all the ugliness of the world. On the playing field there is simple honor and simple truth and the score is genuine. It’s naive to think that famous athletes would be any different from greedy corporate CEOs or arrogant surgeons. We want purity and we’re upset when we can’t even have it in a simple basketball game or bike race. We’re frustrated by imperfection, weakness, ego, deceit — like sports aren’t supposed to have that when every other sector of life does.
So are we mad at Lance Armstrong. We sure as Hell are. What he did to Greg Lemond and O’Reilly and Walsh and Bassoon and other honest folks was terrible and hard to forgive. Lance made it clear in his recent BBC interview that given the same set of circumstances in the peloton, he’d dope all over again. But what he does regret is the man he became because of doping: vindictive and nasty. On that score, he has apologized many times in public. I wouldn’t want my two kids to know I acted that way and Lance has five kids. That’s plenty of punishment right there and every parent knows that.
In any case, Lance will keep on with the sorrys and one way they will sink in. He may become the first recorded case of a human being suffering from Repetitive Sorry Syndrome.