Those Yellow Wristbands

I’m having a Lance Armstrong rant in my head today thanks to a Facebook post I saw earlier, so I decided to bring my inner dialogue out.

Here’s the FB thread:
Original Post: “Sorry Lance, no free pass.”
Comment #1: “I always thought Lance was creepy AND a stoner. So there!”
Comment #2 “What a loser.”
(My) comment #3: “Creepy stoner maybe. No free pass, also maybe. Several lifetimes worth of incredible awareness and positive fundraising for a disease that shatters lives, causes discrimination and may be closer to a cure thanks to his efforts……I still admire that part of him, A LOT!”
Comment #4: “People are so multi-faceted. I think most of us have a tendency to want to believe individuals are good or bad, but we’re all such mixed bags.
Comment #5: “I did not have sex with that woman!”

Comment #6: “I’m wondering if he really had cancer. Ya, me bad…. but??????”

First off – It’s well-known that many professional (and amateur) athletes dope. Sadly, not enough of them get busted or confess. It’s a wrong thing to do for many reasons, and Lance messed up big time on this score. He hurt himself and many others in a deep deception that he is getting his balls busted for.  And from the looks of things, the crimes and punishments are just getting warmed up. I know, he was seen as a HUGE hero and that fact is a good portion of the reason people are so righteously pissed at Lance the cyclist. ….it’s a “the harder they fall” thing.

BUT/AND Secondly – Since when (as the fourth commentator suggests) are we as humans all good or all bad? Lance being a doper athlete earns  him the distinction of “doper athlete.” His lying earns him the title of “big fat liar.” But Lance being a doper athlete and BFL does NOT make him an all around creep or complete loser.

Consider the many many public figures who have made tremendously poor, detrimental and just plain selfishly bad choices and been caught in whatever the heinous act. How many of them were ALSO doing good deeds? Do their good deeds cancel out the crimes? No. Do their bad deeds make them throw away human beings? Also – no.

In my humble opinion, the work Lance was doing off his bike was pretty damned positive. Yes, he had a lot of help from a lot of good people at the Livestrong Foundation. Yes, he was a symbol. But also yes he was an active symbol who worked hard to raise our global consciousness about cancer. Was he doping while he spoke about cancer? Really, I don’t care. I care that he was talking openly about this disease and challenging the stigmas surrounding it. I care that he was devoting energy to waking up the world to the harsh realities of cancer and the necessary fight against it.

Those bright yellow wristbands – while colored as such because the Tour leader wears a yellow jersey – never symbolized the person. And if you ever wore one because you thought it made you appear to be someone cool who followed the Tour de France, you were as high as…..well apparently Lance Armstrong.

The wristbands said and continue to say “Someone I know is battling or has battled cancer. Someone I know and love is doing – or has died doing something so courageous and so hard, that I want to wear this neon sign  for all the world to see to honor that person in spirit all the time.”

Lastly, for now….I ask really, you are “Wondering if he really had cancer?” REALLY??!!!

That’s the kind of question that makes me have to count to 100 (twice) and remind myself that we are not ALL bad or ALL good, but some are less compassionate than they could be.


About Martha Phelps Studio ~ creative on purpose

...a meandering journal of a changing life and the unexpected graces it brings. Earlier posts may provide some history, but this series of writings aren't likely to follow a straight line as I explore topics such as raising kids, making choices, self discovery, the impact of change on a family and how to (hopefully) live with balance and purpose.
This entry was posted in Siftings and Essays of the Heart and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.