Monday, January 28, 2013

Lance Armstrong Isn't the Only One

Max checks out Dad's wheels after a ride
My husband is an avid cyclist. He's intense. As you may recall from this post, I am no athlete.  He can ride 200 miles at a time--and enjoy it.

Me? I like brownies. I've never kept a diary of my food. Heck, it's impossible to track what I eat because my kids take meals right off my plate.  But my husband can tell you exactly how many calories he's eaten at any given moment. He consumes a small garden every day. He eats the peels on his kiwi and chomps on raw oatmeal, but he claims I'm the one with strange eating habits.

Needless to say, health and exercise is serious business around here for one of us. Which, I admit, can be good for all of us.
Hanging out at a hotel before a ride

Until it's not.
"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." --Lance Armstrong
One of his biggest heroes was Lance Armstrong. He read all his books. He admired his single-mindedness, his athleticism, his dedication of giving it all.  Garrett modeled his workouts after the cyclist's, thinking that what makes you better is training harder than everyone else.  That's what Lance said, so it must be true.

And then Lance (we're on a first-named basis in our household) confessed to using performance enhancing substances, and the fairy tale was over.

When the drug confession came out, I asked Garrett what he thought of his hero being a liar on top of everything else.
He grew thoughtful.  "That world is filled with drug use.  It's kind of like when we ask Max if he hit his sister.  Of course he hit his sister. We know he hit his sister. That's what brothers do." He shrugged. "But you don't admit it."


Then Garrett shocked me with a confession of his own.

"Brandi," he looked remorseful. "I get it. I get why he did it. You feel you have to be better. Sometimes you just need a break." He took a deep breath.

No. Oh no.

"I've used performance enhancing substances."

Oh, man. Why, oh, why would he do that? It's a hobby.

He wasn't through shocking me.

"You've used them, too." His look dared me to challenge him.

I remained silent. Too stunned to speak.

He looked at his hands and shook his head.  "It's just that... sometimes, when I...turn on the tv and the kids watch Sesame Street or Max and Ruby, I can get soooo much more done.  TV is really a parent's performance enhancing drug."

I nodded.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zilch tv for any child under two.  But...lots of parents do it. They just don't admit it.

Sounds familiar.


  1. Eeesh! For a minute there, I was getting nervous!

    1. Me, too! He has a point about the tv thing with the kids, but I think G has always been too easy on Lance.

  2. I really can't speak officially because I've never been a biological mom. But just as an observation about society as a whole, I do think it's wrong to use the tv as a babysitter or to ignore what kind of exposure your children are getting through tv. It's hard to teach students with attention spans that are in the seconds.
    Our children deserve better. I think Lance's compulsive lying indicates a problem deeper than using performance enhancing drugs.

    1. I recall attempting to teach students with the attention span of gnats. I had a colleague who said she could "tap dance naked and they still wouldn't pay attention."

      In defense of television, though, I remember watching Sesame Street and the original Electric Company. I remember learning skills from those shows--specifically how to sound out words and count. I still sing certain songs to my kids.

      As for Lance's underlying problems, I agree. So sad.

      And, yes, our children deserve the best.

  3. I agree children shouldn't be exposed to too much TV. But after recently spending time with the "grands," I'm re-considering exactly what constitutes "too much"! :-)

    1. You're not the only grand to feel that way. My parents let Max watch tv long before he had parental permission. I was clued in to the fact when I heard him in another room one day. I walked in to see him holding a hairbrush like a microphone and working the empty room. He'd babble and then laugh. Sure enough, they'd been watching The Ellen Degeneres show.

  4. I was holding my breath there for a minute - glad it had a thought-provoking ending.