Lance and Tiger– Who Needs A Hug?

I should say up front that I have never liked Lance Armstrong. Mostly, it’s because he reminds me of cocky Texas boys I knew back in the day.  (I’m thinking of the ones who didn’t want to kiss me or be my boyfriends because they already had girlfriends.)  So, I’m not objective at all.  Add to my own Texas baggage my impression that he dumped his wife who stood by him during his cancer, and then he dumped Ms. Sheryl Crow when she had breast cancer, and there’s not a lot of room left for compassion, admiration, or pity. (Yes, I get my information from Us Magazine and my fact checker is on vacation.)

So, no I don’t feel sorry for Armstrong who is being stripped of his Tour de France titles because of the lengthy battle to determine whether he used performance enhancing drugs or engaged in blood doping.  I think he’s guilty but had enough people protecting him that he never got caught.  (This is not a reflection on the institution that granted me my law degree; it’s a reflection of my emotionally-led thinking.)  Click here to read about the significant flaws in the process by which Armstrong has been accused and charged with using performance enhancing drugs.

Image painted by Joyce Polance

Image painted by Joyce Polance

And, I recognize he has raised an amazing amounts of money for cancer research, which, regardless of what he did or didn’t do, is using his power for society’s good.

So why am I refusing to rally for Armstrong, who deserves fair procedures, even if I have dismissed him as a commitment-phobe who enjoys cavorting around with around Matthew McConaughey? I am a lawyer, don’t I care about the presumption of innocence?

I find my reaction to Armstrong curious in light of my reaction to the scandal that plagued Tiger Woods in 2009. They are very different matters of course: Woods’ scandal was private (read sexual), between him and his wife.  It didn’t implicate golf directly.  Perhaps more importantly, it’s none of my business what Tiger did with other women or even that he married a stunning Swedish model slash nanny in the first place.

More curious still, I’ve seen lots of interviews with Woods– he’s not exactly oozing humility and warm fuzzies.

But when Woods’ troubles bubbled to the surface and became national news, I wanted to give him a hug. I believed he suffered from an addiction and a deep soul sickness, which resulted in him taking actions that hurt a lot of people (his wife, primarily). I didn’t feel hatred or contempt for him– I hoped he would go into treatment and get help. I believed he could heal and recover from the malady that wreaked such havoc on his family.

So where’s my impulse to hug Lance?  He’s banned for life from cycling for God’s sake.  Where are my charitable thoughts?  He has not failed a single drug test, but I have made him guilty and refused to muster any compassion for him.

Maybe it’s the power of remorse, which Woods has expressed here, along with accountability for his actions (none of which Woods owes me), that endears me to Woods.

He put his hand on his heart, ya'll! That means he's super sorry. (Image from

He put his hand on his heart, ya’ll! That means he’s super sorry. (Image from

I honestly can’t picture Armstrong being remorseful or taking responsibility for his actions.  Maybe if he did, I would want to give him a hug.  But, until then I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t go into criminal law, because I seem pretty willing to brush aside Constitutional presumptions just because the alleged guilty party reminds me of a frat guy who didn’t want to take me to the Winter Formal.

* * *

Anyone else have a reaction to Lance Armstrong’s announcement last week that he will no longer fight the charges against him?  Have you followed his case?  Could you ever ride a bike straight up a mountain like he did– with or without drugs?  Can you recommend a better news source than Us Magazine read when I can sneak away for a pedicure? Do you want to hug Tiger?


38 thoughts on “Lance and Tiger– Who Needs A Hug?

  1. Two thoughts:
    1) Lance exhaustively reminds us he has never TESTED positive; not that he never engaged in doping.

    2)Tiger Woods is still a douche.

    • I know. I remember hating Tiger’s personality in 2005 during some interview. There’s something about the mea culpa that softens me. And I am the media’s bitch.

      You make 2 valid points!

  2. I’m sorry we need heroes and that we expect them to be more than human, but they need integrity, perhaps even more than the rest of us.
    Otherwise they’re just entitled little boys or girls.

  3. Tiger Woods sucks, but he gave me the idea for how to kill one of my villains, so I gotta give him credit for that. Lance Armstrong may be a cocky ass too, but I’m not certain that he cheated . . . he’s been hounded for over a decade. Maybe he’s just sick of it.

  4. Sex addiction is a myth!! A myth created by cheaters and therapists. So no sympathy here for Tiger. I enjoyed every minute of his public demise. Yup. Do feel bad for Armstrong though. That’s a lot to lose. But as I’ve only just learnt of this 10 year battle, my opinion is completely uninformed.

    This is the site I go to for more concrete news:
    Highly informative.

  5. You know I adore you to the heavens but I just can’t get on board here. I don’t particularly like Lance but my opinion has little to do with his achievements. He kicked a lot of people’s ass a lot of times. That’s something I saw with my own two eyes.

    But the Tiger point is the one that has me fired up. He didn’t mean a single word of that written-for-him apology and not one of his actions before or after has been in line with what he said. This can of worms gets opened in my house EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY because, despite firing his coach, his caddy (they didn’t protect him enough) and changing the mechanics of his entire swing, he insists on still wearing red on Sunday, his “signature”. Every Sunday I think he is the most pompous a-hole that has ever existed. Maybe it’s time to let go of that “signature” Tiger, your penmanship sucks!

    Whew, sorry for the rant. Good morning sunshine!!

    • Coming out swinging– and I like it! Where did you see Lance kick ass?

      I totally get your points about Tiger’s apology. That’s the question I have for myself– why did I buy it? Really, he just got caught, right? He is remorseful because he got caught.

      At the end of the day, I want someone to look up to who is a superstar and flawed but not that flawed. I will take Gabby the gymnast. She’s a superstar and not so flawed I cringe when I admire her.

  6. The only hug I want to give Tiger is a hug in the form of a choke-hold. He is so arrogant – can’t stand him! I don’t have much of an opinion on Lance. Yes, he’s arrogant as well, but really, other the Peyton Manning, most successful sports guys are pretty over-confident and smug/arrogant.

    • I should look into Peyton Manning. I think alot about Simon and Sadie having sports heroes, which is an old fashioned idea, but I want them to have what my brother had in Reggie Jackson and I had in Mary Lou Retton, even though I wasn’t a gymnast. COme to think of it, I was a ballerina, and I have yet to come across a ballerina who wasn’t seriously deranged. And Baryshnikov? Huge slut. So, maybe my paradigm is flawed. They usually are.

  7. I got to meet Lance’s mom when I had her out for a fundraiser I hosted. She was super nice and had worked 2 jobs for many years as a single mom and high school drop out just to raise Lance. SHE is the one I feel sorry for.

    Other than that, I’m totally team Sheryl.

    As far as Tiger goes, I still like his smile. It’s really pretty as long as I don’t picture where it’s been.

  8. They both bug me. I didn’t buy Tiger’s apology for one second, and I think Lance is a douche. I agree with the person up there who talked about integrity. It’s something I think most of our “heroes” are sorely lacking.

  9. I cannot get behind Tiger either. Rich celebs get caught fooling around and their called sex addicts. Nobodies do the same and their called cheating scumbags.

    Looking back, I’m surprised Hugh Grant did not play that card. I totally forgave him though. He is too damn charming.

    Speaking of sex addicts….David Ducovney (spelling?) and Gillian Anderson are suddenly shacked up in LA. Wtf?

    • Ya’ll are making me HATE these guys. I am about to do some research on their charitable activities. I had an ex boyfriend who hated Tiger Woods because he was so uncharitable. Better yet, maybe I can research finding a new hero. A real one.

  10. Not that I have an opinion, but……I’m not a fan of Lance because I like his personality. He’s likely to be an ass, and he’s also done a world of good, so maybe those things even out or maybe not. As far as I’m concerned, whether or not he doped is irrelevant if the cycling governing bodies don’t go back and pursue every single other top cyclist from the same era with equal vengeance. It’s sad that there has been a consistent culture of doping in most sports, and there probably always will be to some degree. Cycling has tried harder than any other sport to clean up its act. I’m grateful I was never a professional athlete of exceptional talent who was faced with the brutal moral dilemma of whether to dope or not be able to compete. I don’t presume to know Lance’s personal choices, but I do know that he was always a superhuman athlete who started doing triathlons at age 15 or so and beat seasoned professionals. Most of the cyclists he beat have been found to be dopers, so it was a level playing field at the time. I also do know that Lance trained harder and more obsessively than anybody else. He completely revolutionized the way pro cyclists train – from previewing the mountains they’d ride in the big tours, to obsessing about minutia in equipment, power to weight ratio, and a host of other things. He’s done more for cycling in America than anybody…ever….which as I cyclist, I am hugely grateful for. In terms of his persecution, I think the waste of millions of dollars by some prosecutor trying to make a name for himself is obscene when we have so much poverty in this country. As for his wife Kristen and Sheryl Crow (oh, I did love him with Sheryl Crow,) that’s not my business any more than what Tiger did with his wife. Oh, and I’d still vote for Bill Clinton.

    • Yes, I was thinking about Billy Boy Clinton as I was writing this. I am so happy you weighed in. I think you are better suited to discuss Lance’s virtues that I am, since I get my information from Access Hollywood and the like. And you are right, cycling has worked hard to clean up. I can’t name a sport that isn’t similarly plagued at that level. Except maybe golf, but who knows, really?

      The moral dilema. What would I do? I don’t give myself the kind of credit that I would walk away from cycling to avoid doping. And now that I think about it, the world wouldn’t necessarily be better because Lance has raised so much money for cancer and boosted the discourse about cycling.

      Now I am thinking that for all my legal education I still want to vote with my gut on things, and my gut is full of bias and sour grapes and prejudices. So, the new moral : do not ask for a jury of your peers, because what if they are like me?

    • That’s true. I could always be honest about them if I got picked for a jury. “Your honor, I cannot find this man NOT GUILTY because he’s blonde and reminds me of a cousin that bullied me so I bet he’s a drunk driver.”

      “You’re excused,” will say the Judge.

  11. That would actually be pretty funny. Just one more thing on Lance – the normal doping suspension in cycling is 2 years for a positive test with the right to appeal. If suspended, you’d also be stripped of whatever title you won when you tested positive as well as any titles while awaiting the sentence (because the sentence would be retroactive to 2 years from the positive test.) Losing 7 titles is unheard of.

  12. Lance Armstrong lost my vote when he dumped Sheryl Crow – that’s how deeply I think about this stuff! Loved reading your musings and the comments. I really enjoy your opinion pieces on current events (especially the ones fact checked by US Weekly!). Never wanted to give Tiger a hug even though I understand his disease/addiction. Funny (the curious kind/not the ha ha kind) – Bill Clinton’s ordeal felt hug-worthy, but Tiger’s did not. Don’t know why – just happy you have friends who soul-search more deeply than I do! Love the Joyce Polance painting!!

    • My hug impulse may have something to do with being married to a golfer. I am predisposed to love me whose torsos twist in unnatural ways.

      But now, NOW NOW NOW, I have said too much. 😉

  13. Pingback: A Real Life Hero | Outlaw Mama

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