January 18, 2013

On The Rebound: It’s still OK to Live Strong

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I’m one of those people that bought a yellow rubber bracelet that said, “Live Strong.”

It never got much use. Not because I didn’t buy into the Lance Armstrong hype, it’s just the only accessory I wear is a wedding ring. Everything else just seems to get in my way.

The bracelet only cost a couple of bucks and was worn a few times when I rode a bike or went running. I liked and still believe in the slogan. When I wore it I did not think about Lance Armstrong, I thought about what the slogan meant to me.

Nike is a multibillion dollar company, but I think “Just Do It” is inspiring. I have downloaded songs from Nike commercials to listen to when I’m running. It isn’t about Nike and this isn’t about Lance Armstrong. Sometimes we all need a little boost to remind ourselves just getting out there is a win for normal people. Living strong doesn’t have to be accompanied by trophies and adoration. It’s a feeling as singular and personal as our fingerprint.

Now if I slip the bracelet on my wrist I have to wonder if people believe I am supporting a cheater. Anyone that sees me run knows I have never touched performance enhancing drugs other than a strong cup of coffee. I don’t really know what blood doping is, but it would not give me the endurance to win a Tour de France. It probably wouldn’t stop me from the epic athletic failures that end up in this column.

But “Live Strong?” Yeah it still means something to me.

I really don’t care if Lance Armstrong is allowed to race again. He can cry on Oprah’s shoulders or win the Tour de France on a tricycle and it changes nothing. To put your faith in athletes, or people in general, is to ask for a letdown. It’s like being a Cubs fan.

People are people even if they think a golden halo glows above their head. And if we put faith in them and they let us down we should feel bad for ourselves, not them. I never put on the Live Strong bracelet wanting to be like Lance Armstrong. It was just additional armor to prepare myself for adversaries I face, such as working too much, eating too much, and old age.

Personally I want to say something to Lance Armstrong. To quote Gomer Pyle, “Shame, shame, shame.”

You have let down a lot of people that truly believed in you. I’m just not one of them. I still plan on Living Strong.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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