Maybe I’m not angry at Lance because for two decades now I’ve had serious questions about the wisdom and fairness of the “anti-doping” effort, which consists of criminalizing and demonizing athletes for what boils down to using medications without a prescription, as if they are heroin dealers. And I’m confused as to why using cortisone as an anti-inflammatory in a 2,000-mile race is cheating, and I wonder why putting your own blood back into your body is the crime of the century. And because there are offenses in sport that seem far, far worse to me. Like say, putting rapists on your college football team.
Maybe I’m not angry at Lance because I believe the athlete in him is a situational personality — a facet, not the whole — and I’m just as glad not to compete against that side of him, the one that invented a game called “fireball” when he was a teenager that consisted of soaking tennis balls in kerosene, lighting them on fire, and playing catch with them. “Let me give you a piece of advice,” his wife Kristin once said. “Don’t corner him. If you corner him, he’ll fight his way out.” Whose makeup seems to me Phaedra-like, drawn by two horses pulling in opposite directions. “I have loved him every minute of his life,” his mother once declared, “but God, there were times when it was a struggle.”