Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

26 July 2007

Le Tour - R rated, Not suitable for children?

****WARNING - Soapbox rant to follow

Hew: Why are the men on tv mad?

Me: Why do you think they are mad?

Hew: They sound really mad? Why are they really mad?

Me: Well . . . (should I have even turned on the race this morning with the kids or should I have censured the race and checked the results at nap time?) . . .the man in the yellow jersey took some medicine that didn't belong to him and the men are mad he did that.

Hew: Why?

Me (definitely should have left the tv off this morning) : Well, he wanted to win the race so he lied to his team about where he was?

Hew: What about the medicine? How did he take someones medicine?

What I said: The man wanted to win and he did bad things to do that. You never lie and you never take someone else's medicine. Okay?

What I wanted to say:

First, Hew I'm not some crazed athlete or fan. When I was home on maternity leave with you, I was bored out of my mind and then I found this race on tv - Le Tour. While I sat nursing you, I was transported to quaint French towns and steep Alps and these insane guys were biking it all. Soon I was hooked, cheering for Lance and Leipheimer, admiring Hincapie for his dedication and self sacrifice, feeling Ulrich's frustration - we spent the days cheering at the tv, reeling from the beautiful scenery.

Last year when visiting your Uncle in France, we had the opportunity to attend the Prologue - the opening day of the Le Tour. It was exhilarating and fun and your father and I swore to each other that one day we'd rent a camper and follow the entire tour one day. The physical strength and mental determination needed to complete this race is unexplainable and overwhelming. All in such a gorgeous place that if I were racing I'd stop just to look around at the snow capped Alps. At the end of the Tour when Landis tested positive I suspected foul play with the lab. Yet when the B test came back positive, it became harder to deny he'd cheated.

This year has seen lying, positive drug tests, an arrest, whole teams withdrawing, and an increased distrust in all of the riders. The sport has been declared dead. In a society that is know for the promotion of win at all costs, this should not be shocking. Yet for the cheesy fans like me, it's horribly disappointing. I am more impressed with those racing clean - not only are they enduring physical pain and mental hurdles, but they accept having their integrity questioned due to other rider's actions. I hope Hew that by the time you actually understand these scandals this sport has cleansed itself, but I fear that instead, the drugs will become more sophisticated and more difficult to trace.

So to those racing clean - thank you for the fun and the excitement. It is amazing to watch what the human body is capable of performing. And to those choosing to taint the sport in which they participate, you tell me how to explain your shameful behavior to a three year old.

**** climbing down now


RennyBA said...

Interesting thoughts and dialog in this matter. The whole cycling sport is a disgrace - good to know the bad guys are taken and should be left out for ever.

So you know I follow Tour de France too and up until now it has been fascinating - now I don't know anymore. Not only difficult to explain for the young once you know:-)

Mountain Dweller said...

The tour came through the village next to ours last year. It IS an amazing race and I hope it can pull itself back to its past glory and status.

Dixie said...

I've been so disappointed as well. My husband and I watch Le Tour every year and this year has been such an exercise is disillusionment. Every day when I tune in I expect to hear about more cheating.

Merisi said...

I am with you as far as my disgust for what's going on is concerned. Yet, I do feel compassion also, for I am sure not everybody gets caught, and those who are truly clean do not have a chance of winning ever. The guy with the more sophisticated indedectable "drug" wins, that's the impression I am left with. And what injustice, figuring all the sacrifice those athletes have to go through.
While travelling, we stayed in a hotel where a Dutch speedskating team was training, really sweet girls and guys, sacrificing there summers indoors, day in, day out. You want them to win, to be able to win clean, that is.