Lance Armstrong. Photo: K16 Surf School, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Last night Lance Armstrong, wearing a poor fitting black coat over a totally wrong choice of lavender shirt, told Oprah that he had doped and doped and diggity-diggity doped. For years! He mostly blamed his cancer. “My diagnosis … turned me into a person who was resolved to win at all costs, since cancer compels you to do anything I have to do to survive. …And I took that attitude, that ruthless and relentless and win-at-all costs attitude, and I took it right into cycling.” And what an awesome defense. Cancer is the worst! It makes people do horrible things like lose hair. But really, we all know in our hearts that Lance Armstrong, himself, is uglier than cancer. He is completely gross.
And what are we, as surfers, supposed to do with the specter of Lance Armstrong? What are we to learn? I think it is simple. Drugs are bad. Lying about drugs is worse. Bullying and destroying others to keep our lies hidden is completely gross. Yes, whatever we do, as a culture, whatever party party we get on, or don’t get on, we may as well wear it on our wetsuit sleeves. We should, each of us, own our actions because if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Or as Rihanna says, “I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it.” This is not a defense of drugs, of either performance enhancing or party enhancing drugs. It is a repudiation of lying and destroying others. It is a burning example that we should forever and always stand tall in whatever it is we may be doing. Or as Rihanna says, “Shine bright like a diamond.”