Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lance Armstrong (and others like him)

Odyssey in Yellow, by Malcolm Farley

I remember the day Lance Armstrong was finally caught, yet ironically,  there had been so many other 'juiced up' athletes like him. 

First it was those monstrous East German swimmers, then it became 'speed demon' Ben Johnson.

During your time period, there were seemingly countless professional athletes who excelled in their respective sport, and who later tested positive for performance enhancing substances. 

The scandal continued throughout the next few decades to include baseball legends Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire. 

The game in those days seemed to be: Build 'em up, and knock 'em down! 

When these athletes were competing in their prime, they had been exploited by prospective individuals for their athletic prowess, and when it became advantageous to do so, they were outed for the purposes of generating more 'attention'. 

In the case of Armstrong, who had won seven Tour de France titles, his public shaming became a diversion within the media, and general culture, to obfuscate the real crimes existing within government, banking and other dubious mega-financial institutions.

The real criminals were relegated to the back pages of the newspaper, and usually got off with nothing more than a gentle 'slap on the wrist'. 

I don't exactly remember the names of those swindlers, they've pretty much all been forgotten during our time period, but they had betrayed a common trust far greater than the millimetre and millisecond advantage that the 'drug cheats' had managed to accomplish. Our inevitable rendezvous with destiny ultimately corrected that error in one swift stroke, and for good!

He obviously didn't need the advantage

However, corruption within sport was ubiquitous during your era, yet it still remained pretty much a taboo subject. 

In those days, individuals who intuited match fixing were often written off as being either 'kooks' or 'conspiracy theorists'.

It was so hard to actually catch the perpetrators 'red-handed', and it became the 'dirty family secret' within those following the professional sports world at that time.

Sport had become such big business (from skyrocketing player salaries, to corporate sponsorships, to internet gambling), that with so much money involved, corruption hung over these sports like an omnipresent demonic spectre.

I had loved sport once.  The first shot across the bow, for me, was when my beloved Montreal Expos were denied a chance to finally win the World Series in 1994 (due to a players strike, please don't laugh!)  and were then systematically phased out a few years later and exiled to Washington D.C.

My sole interest in sport at that time had pretty much been relegated to World and Euro Cup football competitions; I cheered seemingly in vain for my tribal Canadian Men's National Team to make it back to the world stage.

Enough about me, but you get the idea... In those days, 'mucho dinero' equalled 'mucho corruptionez'. 

Back here at Nova Avalon, we've had to settle for hap-hazard hacky-sack tournaments, after our last soccer ball exploded when a Baltic-Burundian woman had kicked it with 'just a little too much force'.

Dirty CT  Village 5, Nova Avalon.   Year 17 P.T.E.

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