I hate this shit.
I just want to get it out there. I really do.
I hate sticking my neck out every day and trying to convince people that competitive sports provide this amazing opportunity and outlet. I hate the little Pollyanna optimist in my gut that keeps getting kicked in the teeth every time another athlete gets nailed or finally admits to doping.
I wasn’t a sprinter, so Marion Jones was never particularly on my specific list of heroes. But I think that it was hard not to feel some sense of elation and amazement the year that she took all of those medals. I didn’t know about doping then, so I didn’t think twice. I just pressed closer to the television as my heart rose in my throat and my eyes widened.
I was impressed. Inspired. In awe.
Now I’m just disgusted.
Jones is doing the right thing by coming forward. I guess there’s some respect in that. People can make mistakes and move forward. It just blows that she sucked up 5 fucking medals that could have gone to (possibly) clean athletes. I mean, what does it have to feel like for everyone she competed against during those years? Everyone who came in 2nd, 3rd or 4th, again and again and again.
Sure, they might take the medals back and pass them out again to the suckers who really deserved them, but they didn’t get to run around the Olympic stadium with the press of a crowd’s roar in their ear. They didn’t stand on top of the podium or hold the heart of a nation.
She did that.
And she gets to keep all those experiences and emotions, however tainted. She still has that moment of my life when I glued myself to the television and envied her muscle structure and her prowess and her poise and her domination. That’s the part that really gets me.
Oh well. There goes another one. Jones joins a growing list of disappointments: gone with the likes of Johnny Damon (traitor) and Vino (doper!) into the realm of the toppled hero. (If it seems unfair that I’ve placed Damon in the same category as a lying, cheating gaggle of dopers, then clearly you’re not a true Red Sox fan.)
I’ll return to the point I made on the day I found out about Vino:
Keep your heroes local – we’ve got plenty to choose from. Here’s a helpful list of some of my favorite Oregonians (or former Oregonians) who kill it on a daily basis:
And, of course, Sherry’s personal favorite: Ryan Trebon, captured here in a photo I took at the crit in this year’s Cascade Classic: