I am pretty ambivalent with regard to Lance Armstrong. Like a majority of Americans, I’m not a gearhead, unlike my pal Dan (who needs a new blog title). I did cheer for Armstrong when he battled back from cancer to win the Tour de France. I booed him over essentially choosing his career over his family. Like the large majority of professional athletes, Armstrong is nothing more than someone you can admire for his professional achievements, but should be avoided for pretty much anything else. Via the aforementioned Dan, an interview with the latest Armstrong biographer, Dan Coyle, confirms this:
VN: What is your personal take on Lance Armstrong?
DC: As his teammate Jonathan Vaughters once told me, there’s a pattern with Lance: he gets close to people, and inevitably something goes haywire. I must admit, the closer I got to him, the less I found myself admiring him. Now that I have distance again, I find myself admiring him more. Let me put it this way – he is a good hero for my 10-year old son, but I wouldn’t necessarily want him to date my daughter.
VN: One former teammate once described him as “one of the unhappiest men I’ve met.” Do you think Lance Armstrong is happy?
DC: He is more driven than happy. As Floyd Landis puts it in the book, “Lance doesn’t want to be hugged, he wants to kick everybody’s ass.”
Armstrong may not want to psychoanalyze himself, but I’d be happy to do so. From the myriad things I’ve read here and there about him, I would say Lance is a poster child for why involved fathers, or father-figures, mentors, are so important in a child’s life. In some ways, Lance is scared to love because he didn’t get that love only a father can provide. He has a void in his heart that he has only been able to fill with his desire to dominate and win in the sport of cycling.
Personally, I think I’d rather be around someone who’s happy.