Hope Rides Again

I think I enjoyed the Tour more this year than I have in a while.  From the battles at the finish lines to the great climbs in the mountains, everyday was exciting.  With Lance’s return to the sport and all the drama on Astana, not to mention the other numerous stories, there is so much than can be talked about that it is hard to find a place to start; but I was granted some perspective on Wednesday night. 

When Lance announced he was coming back, cycling erupted into a debate.  On one side you have one of the most popular sports figures in history, the winner of 7 consecutive tours, coming out of retirement to a sport in need of a new hero. But on the other hand, you have all the critics that come with him.  From those who accuse him of doping, to those who say he just couldn’t let go, there are lots of people who just don’t like Lance. They say he is trying to prove he used to be clean.  They say he can’t get over his own ego.  They say he is bad for the sport.  So why did Lance decide to return and was it good for cycling?

I don’t think I am really qualified to fully answer that question, but there are thousands out there who are qualified.  From the messages on roads of France, to stories on TV and the web, to thousands of yellow bracelets around the world, they will say Lance’s return was amazing.  For as much ballyhoo that he has been given, Lance’s return is not about Lance.  It is about cancer. 

It is about a cure.  It is about hope.  It is about a cause worth fighting for.  It is not about winning.  It is about giving people the courage and hope to do the impossible.  It is about fighting the fight and giving others the hope to fight for themselves.  Just ask The Fat Cyclist. 

His wife, Susan, has been fighting cancer for sometime.  Together, along with hundreds of other supports on Team Fatty, they have raised over $500,000 for The Lance Armstrong Foundation.  But Wednesday night, Susan passed away.  She left behind thousands of friends and supporters, but she left them better people.  Although her body was beaten by this disease, her spirit and her passion never were.  And neither were the spirits of those around her.  

It’s not about the bike.  It’s not about the trophies.  It is about hope.  And though Lance didn’t win it all, he fought with everything he had.  Just like Susan.  He did it not for himself, but for them.  And thus Lance, Susan and all the others who have fought, are fighting or will fight cancer can have hope.  And at the end of it all, even if overcome, they can smile and know they fought valiantly.  Like Susan.  And continue to inspire the rest of us to be the best we can every moment of every day.  So here’s Lance. And here’s to Susan.  And here’s to all the others who have survived and those who haven’t.  To all who have inspired us to LiveSTRONG; thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a light to the rest of world in the midst of own darkest times.  Thank you.

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~ by Velosophy Esq. on August 7, 2009.

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