Guest post By Bess Auer….Thanks Bess and so true! SwimmerJoe
As I am watching the Tour de France and gearing up for the London Olympics, I am saddened to see the Twitter and Blogosphere light up with doping allegations. Current Tour leader Bradley Wiggins is dominating the race, putting in the ride of a lifetime and eclipsing his main rival, Cadel Evans, last year’s winner. Well, this can’t be possible! Wiggins must be cheating!
I don’t blame the doubters, as we’ve seen too many athletes, ranging from cyclists to baseball players, get caught. However, it is not the fact that cheaters exist that bother me, as they seem to get caught eventually. What bothers me is what these charlatans have robbed from us, the sports lovers, the dreamers, the wishers. These cheaters have stolen our willingness to believe in the impossible, our belief in athletic superiority.
When we see a man win the Tour de France seven times, well then, he must be doping. There is simply no other explanation because humans can’t be capable of surpassing normal human boundaries. Forget the fact that he fought back from the very edge of death, experiencing pain far worse than cycling up an 14% grade mountainside. The mountain only lasts a few hours, but surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, lasts for months on end. Seven times? Incredible! Impossible! A human can’t do that!
After we lose our belief in the incredible (Seven times? Impossible!), we also begin to doubt those sports performances that are well within the realm of normal human ability, such as Wiggins in the Tour this year. (He’s good but not particularly extraordinary.)
Growing up I believed in the impossible. Nadia Comaneci scoring a perfect 10 seven times (Seven times? Impossible!) and the1980 Miracle on Ice (Unthinkable!). Throughout modern history there are many superhuman performances: Jesse Owens debunking the Nazi’s Aryan Myth by winning 4 gold medals in the Berlin Olympics. Roger Banister breaking the 4 minute barrier. Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a single NBA game. Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals. (Inconceivable!)
Cheaters, I refuse to allow you to take away my willingness to believe in the impossible. I want to watch the Olympics this year and be amazed as the human body reaches incredible new heights. We may not truly be able to fly, but as I watch videos of Bob Beamon’s world record 29+ foot jump, I feel like maybe we can. Believe.