Tag Archive | sports

6 Things You Won’t See In My Memoir

I guess I should mention I am not writing a memoir and have no plans to ever pen one.  But that hasn’t (and shouldn’t) stop me from thinking about all the things I won’t be writing about in the book I don’t plan to write.

With me?

Good.

NOT my coffee cup

NOT my coffee cup

Here’s what you won’t be reading in the book I’m not writing:

  1. If Only I Hadn’t Been So Skinny. Have you seen this in memoirs? “I was such a skinny kid…” “I was pretty, but way too skinny.” In my not-oir you are never ever going to see this.  It’s hard for me not to chuck a memoir across the room when I come across the “poor me, I was so skinny” themes.  Because? Cannot relate.
  2. I Had So Much Random Sex With Celebrities. Perhaps I have read one too many books where the author coupled with the likes of Bill Clinton, Norman Mailer, or Baryshnikov.  I should stop reading those because I’ve never had random celebrity sex, but maybe if I had, I would be writing a memoir.
  3. We Were So Poor We Slept In the Car. Again, I have read so many rags-to-riches stories that now I think my humble ranch house in suburban Dallas will make for the most boring story in the world.  While I wasn’t allowed to get Guess jeans in 1985 unless I paid for them myself, that’s not nearly as exciting as living without plumbing or having one of my family members gamble our grocery money way.  Damn middle class upbringing.
  4. I Moved To The Big City All By Myself To Make it Big. While I did move from suburban Dallas to gritty, south side Chicago, I made that move to attend graduate school in Humanities. It doesn’t have quite the same ring as someone who moved from Tallapoosa, Mississippi to New York City to become an actor or a famous televangelist. Also? I don’t think that getting a post-graduate job as an admin assistant counts as “making it big.”
  5. I Went On A Long Spiritual Journey By Myself and Found My Bliss. Nope, this won’t be there either. I did once go to Mexico by myself in December 2004, but I almost went insane watching 24-hour coverage of the tsunami that hit Indonesia. I watched the death toll climb higher and higher, and there was no bliss to be found– a dead cockroach and a stale chocolate wafer, but there was no bliss.
  6. Then I made the winning shot/basket/goal. No. Just no.  There’s so much to love about sports, if only there were no balls or no need to work with other people under time pressure.  Oooh, and there’s all that touching and sweat.  If not for all that, maybe some triumphant Rudy-like passages might exist.  The best sports story I have is that I ran a half marathon while my nipples were bleeding and the guy who had recently dumped me ran right past me (who was gasping for breath about to die of exhaustion), while chatting with his new sporty girlfriend (the kind who could run a half marathon in a tiny sports bra).  Don’t worry: You won’t ever have to read about that incident again, because I am not writing a memoir.

What’s not appearing in your memoir?

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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 www.masslive.com)

He put his hand on his heart, ya’ll! That means he’s super sorry. (Image from http://www.masslive.com)

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?