Grammy and Gran-dog came down over MLK weekend to see BabyJ and to celebrate Christmas with us since we were down here over the holidays. We had a great visit with them and I'm sure they enjoyed spending as much time as possible with J. A few snaps from the weekend below...
Well, I guess it's high time to go ahead and take these down off the wall of my home office. Doesn't matter much that they're signed by Lance Armstrong or that I have a really cool story of how I snuck into a Senate press conference with Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Lance to get them signed. A person who's now admitted to cheating for his entire career isn't going to have a place on my wall.
I watched the first hour or so of Lance's big interview last week and heard him say the words that I truly believed we would never hear but over the course of the past 6 months became more and more apparent. Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs. You knew it was coming, but it was still surreal to hear him say it after all these years of vehement denials. [As an aside, I do wish the interview was done by someone a bit tougher than Oprah. She went the soft and emotional route and I think many people wanted to hear the how and why. How could you pull this off for so long and still never test positive. Where was it done, how was it hidden? Who else knew? Who helped? How far up the flagpole did this go? Should have had someone like a Bob Costas, sporty type do this interview, but that's just my opinion]
I touched on this same issue back in October of last year and in re-reading those comments today I don't think they've changed that much now that we know it's "official". Once you start a lie like this there's no gentle way to stop it...the only option is for everything to come crashing down if it ever comes to light.
It's a sad story all around, but to hear Lance say that putting air in his tires, water in his bottle, and doped blood into his veins were all just part of getting ready to ride a bike race speaks volumes to just how widespread this problem was. At the same time, it is encouraging to hear him say that he was forced to stop using performance enhancing drugs as a result of the biological passport that was created to monitor an athletes system over the course of time and catch descripencies that may not show up in one stand alone blood test. That means that the steps being put in place to curb doping are indeed working.
I know it will be extremely difficult now for Lance to keep the Livestrong charge going, but I'm hoping that he can. It needs to continue! He has been an amazing champion for the importance of cancer research, patient care, and survivorship issues and I'm afraid that those types of things will suffer. He was able to leverage his celebrity [granted it was a celebrity earned under false pretenses] to lobby congress and several presidents to increase funding for some many important research initiatives. The money is desperately needy by those doing the work and I think you can say that Lance was personally responsible for keeping many of the NIH cuts from happening. That is certainly something he can hang is his hat on...and he should do that proudly.
That brings me to the little yellow Livestrong bracelet that I've been wearing since 2004 when they first came out. Who knew so many of them would have been sold over the years? So the question a few folks have now asked, and you see all over the internet from others..."will I take it off now?". My answer is a simple "no", but the reasons are not so simple. I see the bracelet as a small daily reminder of what I went through with my own cancer battle. If things aren't going well or I'm having a bad day at the office I can quickly look down and immeidatly put things back into perspective. Hmm...maybe things aren't so bad!
I think the Livestrong organization will still carry on doing the great work that they do, helping out folks and continuing to raise awareness. I had a Livestrong t-shirt on a few months back, shortly after all of this started to boil to the surface and a guy said to me in passing "you still gonna wear a shirt like that?". "Of course I am...why wouldn't I?" was my reply. I wasn't going to get into it with him, but the point is that there are so many more reasons to wear the yellow bracelet or a Livestrong t-shirt than just a single person.
So that's my take on the whole Lance Armstrong situation. Not really sure if it makes any sense at all, but that's just whats in my head right now. He's certainly let a lot of people down, myself included, but now it's time to put this in the past and move forward with the sport of cycling and more inportantly, with finding a cure for the hundereds of types of cancer that are still out there. The bicycle racing really isn't that important, is it?
Kelly sent me this image the other evening with a note that read "Hurry home Dad, I'm getting into the electronics!"
She wasn't kidding...that's not good! Kelly said she slid open the cabinet and then reached for biggest button she saw...the volume. And cranked it up! Guess we better get used to listening to loud music, or figure out a way to "baby proof" the entertainment center.
Technically she's not even "mobile" yet and we can already tell she's going to be a handful. Look at her in this photo...looks like a cat burgler trying whatever it takes to get in there!