Today is the beginning of a what will probably be a long lambasting of America’s heir apparent to the Tour de France. One of the blazing headlines in the news this morning is that Floyd Landis tested positive in the second test for testosterone doping during Le Tour.
I am not here, however, to lambaste Mr. Landis. While it disappoints me that he chose this route, what bothers me more are the repercussions that trickle down from something like this.
To begin, it has an impact on Americans, generally. I cannot compare Landis to Lance Armstrong because it is inherently unfair — they are but two men who competed in the same venue (like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumaker or Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade) who have risen to the top of their respective games. But overall, I think that Armstrong’s victories are probably shadowed now by a doubt of American integrity. And the next to come along, be it in cycling or elsewhere, will have that presumption to rebut from square one.
But the impact does not end there; it trickles down. The MLB has been trying to combat this problem for many years now and for several reasons, one of the most important being on the message it sends children. Doping and steroid use is not a sport-limited problem, as Landis has made apparent. It is not something that only the bigger athletes do (the linebackers, home-run hitters, power lifters); even sports where physical size is not all-determinative are subject to illegal substance enhancement. But what does this tell the children?
The far-reaching effects of a single instance of indiscretion reign wide. And any athlete that is in such limelight must know it coming.
It is unfortunate that today I use Landis to speak on this message (frankly, I don’t care enough about baseball to dedicate a Meditation to it). But it is equally (if not more so) unfortunate for his choice of performance tactics that will ripple outward and touch so many more than just himself.
[With all apologies, I do realize it is Saturday and I am grossly off from Thursday. I have no excuses other than I am on vacation and clearly enjoying every minute of it! Ciao ciao, from Evergreen, Colorado; elevation: 7220 feet!]