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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Time to Think...


Anybody here ever read A Time To Kill by John Grisham?

I know we've all seen the movie; Samuel L. at his "angry black" best; both Sutherland's doin' their thing, one white power, one not; Oliver Platt and Kevin Spacey somehow managing to add comedy and credibility; and of course Matthew McConaughey, who at the time was still playin' slick gentlemen from the deep South, as opposed to stoners from the West coast, or underachieving slackers from God knows where...

Oh and let's not forget present day victim #1, Sandra Bullock, in what I like to call her "Cameron Diaz The Mask" phase. Ya know, like when she was at her hottest but at her least famous? She made Ashley Judd her bitch in that one. Almost stole her man, too. And here she is crying on TV about infidelity. No wonder the KKK tied to her to a post and almost killed her...In the movie, that is...

But that's the movie, and seeing as the part I want you to focus on is McConaughey's big closing argument in the murder trial of the century, I'd rather you remember the book if that's at all possible. See, I'd rather you not get caught up in how bad McConaughey was in the movie, and focus more on the importance of the message in the scene, and most importantly, how it applies to the message I'm trying to get across in this week's post...

For those that don't remember/don't know what I'm talking about, please allow for a very brief summary:


The speech in question is at the end, when McConaughey's character, defense attorney Jake Brigance, is trying to describe how his defendant, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L), felt at the time he gunned down the two men that had raped and nearly killed his daughter. A large group of people saw Haliey do it, and Jake was trying to get him off on temporary insanity. Brigance describes the scene of the little girl's rape, telling the all white jury to close their eyes and "imagine". "Imagine a girl lying in her own blood". "Imagine a girl screaming for her daddy, but nobody could hear her". Imagine this, imagine that. He describes the whole scene in extensive detail, drawing out every sentence and he himself, coming closer to tears with each passing breath. Then, at the very end, after a pause so pregnant it's water nearly broke, he drops the bombshell...

"Now imagine she's white..."

Bam! There it was. He cut through the black and white, got into every body's hearts, and got Samuel L. outta there with not so much as a slap on the wrist. Brilliant, just brilliant...

Now I'm not claiming this is some original tactic, or even a literary stroke of genius, but I do see it as a good "forrest through the trees" type litmus test. Proof that facts are facts, but that the way they are conveyed can totally alter how you view them. And for today's purposes, I'd like you to use that frame of thought to think about the latest allegations against America's favorite cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Oh, and allow me to right now say that you should be putting a lot of stress on the adjective, American...

Also, allow me to make a few things clear before I state my case...

I'm not doing this because I don't like Lance as a person. I don't know him, and to be honest, every time I've ever heard him speak he's seemed like a really polite guy...

I'm not doing this because of the latest allegations put on Lance by #1 creepazoid, Floyd Landis. That guy's weirded me out since day 1, and I wouldn't trust him further than I could throw the cars his Mennonite family isn't allowed to drive...

And I'm not doing this because I want to tare him down. Nobody appreciates more than I do how Lance was able to come back from cancer to lead a healthy life, but having beat a deadly disease does not necessarily an honest man make. There's no doubt he's tough, resilient, and should be commended for his fight against cancer and the work he does to raise money for research, but again, that doesn't mean he's then incapable of doing any wrong...


So here's my thing. IF I were, like Jake Brigance, to lay out all the facts in front of you, it would look a lot like this...

Imagine a 7 time Tour de France Champion, in the middle of what was known as the most steroid infested era in sports on record...

Imagine he won races in a dominating fashion never seen before, DEMOLISHING his opponents in the hill stages. Moving by them as if they were standing still, why he himself looked to be exerting little to no energy at all...

Imagine he had well known and well publicized relationships with pharmaceutical companies and trainers banned by his sport. A trainer so disgraced, that when a former Tour champ and fellow countryman heard Lance had been working with him, he said he felt "disgraced"...

Imagine multiple lawsuits filed on behalf of former employees, alleging drug use, that were settled out of court...

Imagine a book having been published, alleging the illegal use of performance enhancers, and a major National newspaper seeing it fit to publish excerpts from that book...

Imagine every couple months or so, a new story seems to appear alleging drug use, whether it be from doctors, reporters, or former teammates...

Now, and this is where Jake would really be tearing up, and where Kevin Spacey would know he had just lost the case. Now imagine he's French...

Change your opinion at all? I bet it did, but whether or not you want to admit it is another story. And that's OK. Listen, I get that the myth of Lance may me more important than the reality, much like Batman in the Dark Knight, but it's also important to temper expectations and keep in touch with reality. I can't help but see all those LIVESTRONG bracelets, see Lance's past, see what happened to Tiger Woods, and think this is all just going to lead to a whole other group of fans being devastated because they thought they knew a guy that they really didn't...

And I know my words, this column, won't change that. Won't change how people view this guy, or think. But it's just a thought process I've had in regards to Lance for a really long time (since I made and wore my LANCE ARMSTRONG DOES STEROIDS rubber bands in '02), and seeing as he's in the news again, I felt this as appropriate time as any to lay my opinion on the table. As usual, it's here for you to take or leave...

I know I didn't exactly come hard with facts and details, but that wasn't really the point. And not because the "facts" would get in the way of my argument, either. The point was, just like in Briggance's closing argument, is that often times, you can see things differently my merely rearranging the facts. And in this case, when you rearrange those facts to not include the fact that Lance is American, I'm pretty confident in saying there would be no doubt in any of your minds that he was a blatant cheater...

But hey, that's just me. And while I don't believe that Lance "deserves to die, and I hope he burns in Hell!", I do think that the powers that be, and all the fans, should start looking at his career with a much more critical eye. If not for the purity of sport (chuckle), then simply to protect themselves from what seems to me, almost an inevitable bombshell at some point down the road...

After all, I like to call myself a gatekeeper. One who protects the sports he loves and the fans that dwell inside his gates. And I'll tell you right now, if I see a guy on a bike in a yellow unitard knockin' on the gate, he ain't gettin' in...


Ahhh. So not that I have that free and clear of my system, let me hit you with some other ish before I head on down the road...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 25-21, 7 1/2 games back in AL East

This Week: @ TB (5/25-5/26) vs KC (5/27-5/30)

Obviously going 6-1 in their last 7 against the Yankees, Twins, Phillies and Rays is encouraging, but allow me to stop just short of saying the Red Sox are right where they need to be. The starting pitching is coming around, as witnessed over the weekend, and that's great, but even with Ellsbury back this offense still concerns me...

They've been scoring runs, and that's awesome, but the way they do it still isn't exactly confidence inspiring. Sounds a little odd, seeing as they're 2nd in the Majors in HRs, 5th in runs scored, and just beat Roy Halladay on the road, but I still won't be confident in this team until they work out their roster quirks and get another big bat in there. Until that happens, I just don't see the Sox being able to win down the stretch, let alone win a series come October...

For now, I'll still opt to play the waiting game, as in waiting for Theo Epstein to make a move. It won't stop me from enjoying and rooting for the product on the field, but it will always be right there in the forefront of my ever so quizzical mind...


The Celtics almost inspired me to do a "it's funny how winning changes things" column on Glenn Rivers MD and Danny "the Mormon Towel Bandit" Ainge, but my love for John Grisham books and hatred for cyclists won out. Instead, I'll just tell you that while I don't think the Celts are on the verge of a Bruin-esque come-from-ahead tank job, I do predict that they will lose the NBA Finals in 6 games to the Los Angeles Lakers. I won't be rooting for the Lakers (I may be a cynic, but even I have my limits), but I just think they have what it takes to beat the Green this time around. Celtics fans will be the first to tell you the reason they're beating Orlando this time is because last time they didn't have Kevin Garnett, and the Lakers have a similarly strong argument when it comes to Andrew Bynum. And judging by how they're playing, it would be tough to argue...


Again, just sayin'. Besides, all that prediction really guarantees, is that the Suns will come back to beat LA, sweep the Celts in the Finals, and Sheed will then retire, move to the Mexico/US border and become an immigrant Bounty Hunter and stars in his own A&E documentary. I call it "No Country For Old Mexicans". But that's just a working title. "Wallace: Texas Ranger" and "Sheed, Army of 1" are also still on the table...

And finally, as if Lance's tale weren't enough to discrouage you from attempting to alter your genetic makeup with illegal drugs, there's this image to keep you up at nite...


Dear God, somebody put a jockstrap on that thing...Oh wait, they already did...


Have a good week, everybody. As usual, I hope you enjoyed what I brought to the table, and I hope to see you back next week for another sensational installment...

Until then, I hope it's sunny and warm where you are, and I wish you all the best in the week to come...

Peace in the Middle...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty edgy "Lance Stance", but you think Venus Williams is a guy, and nobody in their right mind can hate on that.

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