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Doped and Duped

January 21, 2013 - Al Stephenson
Welcome to the wonderful world of sports. So many great things can be associated with athletics, stories that warm your heart. The two that I am going to explore today are not among the good ones however.

Lance Armstrong has come "clean" by admitting that he was doping for all those Tour de France wins. Well, at least they used to be wins. Although I suspected the truth all along, I didn't want to believe it. After all he denied any wrongdoing and had never officially tested positive. He was American and it was with a kind of red, white and blue pride that I wanted to think he was for real. Now all that has changed and I feel cheated.

I guess it should not come as a surprise that doping in a sport that has been riddled with controversy would take place. Cycling ranks right up there with Big Time Wrestling as a sport that has been tainted for years. Armstrong's explanation that he was only doing what others were doing makes sense, but it is still disappointing.

As a kid I grew up watching wrestling and roller derby on TV. The fact that the two sports were manipulated didn't matter to a young boy who idolized Bobo Brazil as well as the Bay Area Bombers. Watching Brazil use his signature Coco Butt and watching the Bombers get out on a jam and score points was exciting for this youngster. Real or not, I watched every week.

Now I am older and sports have a different meaning to me. I am frankly disillusioned by Armstrong's admission. On the other hand I am amazed at the admission of Manti Te'o that he was duped into believing his "girlfriend" had died.

The Notre Dame linebacker has come forward to address a story by Deadspin that his girlfriend, who supposedly died from leukemia, didn't exist at all. Te'o suggested that the whole thing was a hoax and he had been taken in by the prank. He emotionally went on TV and told of the loss of his "girlfriend" shortly after the passing of his grandmother last fall. Now it appears that he only communicated with said friend by email and telephone. An acquaintance supposedly perpetuated the hoax and Te'o feels shame that he was duped.

I have had a few girlfriends in my lifetime and I can assure you that I would not give anyone that label had I not been physically in their presence numerous times. I may be old school, but can one really have a girlfriend that you have never met in person?

The view from my seat suggests that we haven't heard the last of this story. Something smells a little rotten to me. Kind of like the Lance Armstrong confession.


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