Random musings of a wandering soul

It’s Not About The Bike

Dear Mr. Armstrong,
I have a son who is exactly the same age as your twin daughters. His ultimate ambition in life , at least for now, is to be a footballer. Till about a few months back, his first and only hero was some Christiano Ronaldo. Then his over ambitious mother went and bought him a book about some crazy cyclist who won some six or seven titles by cycling over some God forsaken places in France and that too after he fought and won over cancer in almost all places in his body. He stayed up late through the night, got up in the morning with that book in hand, took it to the toilet, had it in one hand while the other hand was stuffing food up his mouth and did not put it down till he had literally devoured it.

There was a new light in his eyes when we talked to him about having a dream, pursuing it relentlessly and never ever believing that anything is impossible. For he had found a true hero, someone who had come up from an ordinary background, fought against the odds and won against the most unimaginable hurdles.

Then came a day last week when you said, “enough is enough” and gave up a very important fight. They were saying there was more to you than a boy’s eyes could see or his mind could fathom. The newspapers had loads of stories about what you had to say and of course what others had to say about you. He went through almost every sentence, searching for a clue that would at least give a hint that they were lying and you were right. The confusion in his heart reflected in the disenchantment in his eyes. He wanted words of reassurance that his hero was cast in iron and not moulded in clay. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

I have to agree with you, it’s really not about the bike. It is much more than that, it is about beliefs, trust, passion and most importantly about values and fighting right. You are an inspiration to millions of people around the world, not just because of your bike, more so because of the battles that you have fought and won. You have ignited a spark in many a life when the light was just about to go. Did you ever realize the immense responsibility that you took upon yourself when you decided to share the story of your life with us? And now, would you be able to blame someone if they decide that enough is enough and go an on put an end to their personal fights?

Should I hate you for the game that you have played with my son’s dreams or should I be thankful that you have let him learn the harsh realities of life so early in life?

My only prayer now is that if his favorite footballer performs through drugs, please let it come out only after he has grown up and out of the blind hero worshipping stages of his life.

Let him have his daily glass of milk and a hard boiled egg or two till then.

I really do not know where to get these drugs, you know.

Meanwhile, may you continue to live strong,

A mother who blindly loves her son

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Comments on: "It’s Not About The Bike" (12)

  1. One of my life’s biggest heroes while growing up was Md Azharuddin… I was crazy about his style of batting with wrists… his style to walk with the collar up and an absolute fan of his… using a light bat supple wrists, quick on the feet… I read stories about him sleeping nights on the cricket ground and what not… and then… one day… sigh….

    This is kinda similar I used to think of Armstrong as such a hero and as a role model at all times when we or anyone felt I cant do that !!! I was shattered to read about this… If he is innocent he must fight and not for himself but for people like me and your son !

    • There are so many of them , Hitchy. I used to adore Marion Jones and you know the story. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, that comment by Spideman should be deepely engraved in everyone’s, especially the so called role model’s psyche – “With great power comes great responsibility”

  2. Hi Bindu,

    I can only imagine Georgie’s disenchantment, but I have had similar ones too – like Hitchy, for me Azhar’s fall was hard to accept and there are many more.

    It is not about age ….. Yes, when we are kids hero-worship is more intense and a powerful driving force; we sort of latch on to the first popular example that comes along. The love is primal – none of us research before we fell in love with a hero or his method. We do not have boundaries or reasons for that love – so the fall of the hero, when there is one, if really painful.

    And we have fewer heroes when we grow up because the previous experiences have hardened us and made us cynical. We love less and we set up more conditions for it … but is that love? πŸ™‚

    Like you said, heroes need to remember the impact their actions and behave appropriately, that would make this world a perfect place then, won’t it?

    I am sure Georgie will get his lessons out of it in due course and move on – but the enchantment may die out, which is sad.

    You have presented the message so well, it captured my imagination. The way he went about finishing the Armstrong book reminded me of myself as a youngster – reading all day and through all the activities.

    At least, there is one hero he will be able to rely upon all his life … Books! May that enchantment never die.

    Give us more, Blindly Loving Mom!

    • Jayadev, it is really heartening to see kids getting disllusioned so early in their life. But then, I think it would be good for them in the long run. Our generation grew up knowing the harsh realities of life from a very young age and we realize the value of that now. As a practical human being, I am somewhat glad this happened, but as a very partial mother, I am really sad for him.

  3. I too was stunned to read about Armstrong. I can imagine Georgie’s sentiments. That is why I don’t have any heroes from the real world. My heroes are people like Sherlock Holmes, Asterix and Obelix, James Bond, Captain Kirk and Captain Picard, Gandalf, Don Vito Corleone, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the like. They can disappoint you πŸ™‚ Nice post.

  4. I understand the pain, as with many people , cricket was the game I enjoyed and loved , although never played it well, hockey was my passion which i love doing now too on the weekends .. But then came the corruption and all that and a few of my idols were involved in that .. it was heartbreaking ..

    So i know what the little one would be going through ..

    I dont know what ot say on this , I guess we can take some positive from Armstong’s life , his fight back from cancer , that should be positive…

    • Guess that’s the only way to go about it, he too is like any other human being – some good, some bad. We love to believe that our heroes can do no wrong and so when they fall…it seems like a mighty fall

  5. This post reminded me of Hansie Cronje on whom I had a crush of sorts once upon a time. I was so distraught when the match-fixing scandal broke out. It really is heart-breaking when our heroes turn out to have feet of clay.

  6. Hansie Cronje was mine too…..I just cdn’t accept he cd be wrong for a long long time:-(

    Lovely post Bindu….I felt ur pain.

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