Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Else?

All right, we all know what happened: Tyler Hamilton came up poz on a banned substance, and retired. And the reactions have been all over the map, from "screw him, he's a lying !@#$%$#@ *again*" to "leave him alone, the poor guy's ill" to the tifosi's relief and pride Cipollini bailed out of that freak show to a burned-out "just go *away* already." Me? After agonizing over why I feel so ambivalent, I think we're dealing with basically three aspects of Tyler (or his career) here:

1. Tyler the Badass: love him or hate him, you gotta admit, even in a sport filled with perversely ecstastic masochists who live for pain--and I concede that, as someone whose greatest physical struggle typically involves manhandling a stubborn cork out of a wine bottle, I do find it mystifying--Tyler stands out. Climbing up some of the most fearsome mountains in the game while pounding on a broken collarbone with every twitch of your body, no matter how much crap you're taking to (1) get you there or (2) kill the agony itself, is nothing if not spectacular. On this one, he was unforgettable, and nothing else he ever did changes it.

2. Tyler the Lying Sack of !@#$: Whatever pathetic need to believe in this sport and its heroes that led me to deface one of his expensive charity's hats with a desperate blazing-red "Free Tyler!" was totally blasted out of the water when he claimed, among other ridiculous excuses, his blood values were off the charts because he ate his own twin. Ya doped--deny it and shut the hell up, or admit it and shut the hell up, but don't have the total lack of grace and the contempt for everyone around you to spew ludicrous bull!@@# like that. In fact, Captain Implausible, it's the reason that an awful lot of good and sympathetic folks now have the sneaking suspicion, or outright claim, that your latest wah-ing is just another in a long line of disgusting scam-artistry. And frankly, using your depression to excuse never owning up to what happened and to quash any entirely fair and reasonable questions about your actual motives now is a punk-!@#, cowardly move. Zero, zero, zero sympathy here.

3. Tyler the Patient: he's got an illness, it's still got a stigma, his facing it and, even more, going public with it takes strength. And part of what's so sad about this whimpering end to Tyler's career is that the antidepressants he was taking that apparently weren't working aren't even on the UCI's banned list. But as someone who lost her dear mom to cancer, I have to say that if he is *remotely* using for one iota of a microsecond her struggle and his reaction to it as a means to justify or garner sympathy for something as base, inconsequential, and stupid as a doping poz--and I will assume, because he's a human being, that he isn't and wouldn't--he oughta zip it right there, unequivocally, for good, and never speak to the press or public again. Meantime, I hope he finds whatever he needs to get and to stay well, because the last thing this sport needs is another Vandenbrouckian or Pantaniesque tragic downward spiral. And perhaps someday, he'll come to terms with owning up.

Oh, and Michael Ball, you couldn't've helped him. He had to find his own way there. But what you can do to help everyone incidentally, is stop hiring every !@#$%in' unrepentant dope fiend on the planet, dressing 'em up in terror-inspiring acid-green spandex, and calling 'em a cycling team.

All right folks, that's all the thinkin' I can do on a weekend without making my head hurt. Tomorrow, it's back to the trenches!

1 comment:

Jon said...

Time for Tyler to return the Olympic time trial gold medal he stole. Blood doping, possible connection to Operation Puerto, taking a known banned substance. Tyler was facing a life time ban under the three strikes and your out proviso.
And the manipulation he used on people associated with his sham Tyler Hamilton Foundation...believe Tyler! Enough is enough. Good riddance to bad rubbish.