When I was a sophomore in high school, I begged, pleaded, cajoled, and was eventually granted my own subscription to Sports Illustrated. At the time, it was one of the greatest days of my life. I lived for the mail to come every Thursday so I could marvel at the amazing photographs of athletes captured mid-motion and immerse myself in the stories of victory, defeat, glory and pain. I’d always loved to read, but Sports Illustrated (SI) gave me something more than a book could. I got to catch a glimpse behind the curtain of my favorite sporting events that I’d just experienced days earlier. I could also get to know real-life people I’d seen on television through their in-depth articles. It made me the sports fan I am today.
See, I’m not the typical sports fan. I tend to gravitate to personalities rather than teams. I root for Peyton Manning more than any one particular team in football. My favorite basketball player is, and always will be, Larry Bird (mainly because of an eight page article that ran in one of my SIs, Kathy Ireland will always be my favorite supermodel because of SI as well, but that’s a topic probably left untouched), I love to watch golf on television, but only if Phil Mickelson is playing. Finally, Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr will forever hold a special place in my heart because when it comes to sports, I came of age during their amazing Final Four run that captured the hearts and minds of Arizonans everywhere.
One other personality that I was drawn to during this period was a cyclist who appeared on the cover of SI during my Senior year. He was the first American to win the Tour de France and had an amazing story to accompany his greatness. Before that article, I could not have cared less about cycling. After that article, I had someone to root for.
That cyclist’s name was, Greg LeMond. And as of today, he is still the only American to have ever officially won the Tour de France.
After high school, I gave up my subscription along with any interest I might have gained for cycling. In fact, I only bought my first bicycle since childhood two years ago. And that was so I could feel better about myself in how I got to and from morning racquetball just one mile away from my house.
I noted over the years the amazing story of Lance Armstrong, but it never captured me the way Greg LeMond’s story had. Maybe because I never read about it in a magazine. But after he won his first Tour following a battle with cancer, I was impressed, I guess. I can’t really remember. Then he got divorced from the woman who had stuck with him through his cancer recovery. I was less than impressed. The rest of Lance Armstrong’s career barely registered in my consciousness.
But then a few years ago, I read something about Greg LeMond being one of the leading voices accusing Armstrong of doping. I, like most people, had hoped over the years that the rumors surrounding Armstrong weren’t true. But if LeMond was saying it…the smoke preceding the fire was visible to me.
I started paying just a little bit more attention and was horrified to see what Lance Armstrong and his handlers did to Greg LeMond. They trashed him. They cost him a multi-million dollar deal with Trek bicycles. They tried to destroy his reputation. In some cases, they succeeded.
Fast forward to last night. Now we, the general public, are supposed to forgive a man seeking redemption for decades worth of lies. But the word “lies” doesn’t begin to cover it. He tried to destroy anyone who ever accused him of, what it turned out, he was doing all along.
So forgive me if I am a little slow in saying forgive and forget to Mr. Armstrong. Forgive me if I hope that every lawsuit that is now waiting in the wings for him is successful. It’s not that I believe he is unworthy of forgiveness. I simply believe he ought to experience what he has put so many others through in years past. Specifically, the one cyclist I ever cared about, Greg LeMond.
In other news, I received the book packaging form from my publisher last night and learned some of the details I had been curious about.
1. My book will be put out under the Bonneville Books imprint of Cedar Fort Inc. That probably means very little to most people, but since signing the contract, I had been curious what little logo would appear at the base of the spine of a book with my name on it.
2. Ever since I finished the manuscript, I had been curious how many pages it would be in a regular print book. Now I know. The Reluctant Blogger will weigh in at roughly 432 pages. Quite the Tolstoy I turned out to be.
3. My book will be ideal for the cost conscious in our tough economic times. Barring any changes, The Reluctant Blogger will ring up at $9.99 retail price. So for anyone I know who is thinking, “Wow, some guy I know wrote a book. I might want to read that. But there is no way I am paying full price for a brand new book just released.” No worries.
As always, keep checking back for more updates and stories regarding The Reluctant Blogger, and invite everyone you know who might be interested to visit this blog or my Facebook author page, Ryan Rapier, Author. You can now also follow me on Twitter at @RyanRapier. Thanks again to everyone for your support.