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