Lance, I am with you.

I have always been big on sports and sportsmen. So much so that I have always had this voice at the back of my head that wants me to be a professional athlete. For me, sports are unlike any other human pursuit, for, it is while playing when the true character and strength of an individual is revealed  It is while playing that a person can grow individually and in stature. And most importantly it is while playing you can test your limits. Limits of endurance, hunger, achievement and so on and so forth.

Sportsmen, similarly are an awesome lot. They are like average Joe's who have that dream to do something great. And it is by their sheer grit, determination and hard-work that they do go the extra mile to achieve their dreams and take that shot at glory. Isn't that what life is movies are made of?

Lance Armstrong
Amongst a long list of illustrious athletes that I admire, Lance Armstrong will always be close to the top. Not because of those 7 Tour De France titles but for all the other things that he has done away from the bicycling arena (the Livestrong Foundation). Reason is more personal that grounded in rational thought. His foundation gave strength when I found myself alone and continues to do so (a really really really good friend suffered from the disease and is back to being normal now. There's another friend who is on her way to recovery. She would be back to being awesome soon, inshallah). Thing with being alone is that you have people around you and you have all the hopes that the medical advances give you but end of the day, deep down inside, you are left alone to struggle with all the nightmarish thoughts. And this is when you need someone to hold on to. Some call it praying to God, some call it belief, some call it divinity. I dont know what metaphor to use but it would have been really really tough without it.

Coming back, Lance is someone who I've always looked upto. I dont know much about the sport but I know that winning 7 titles, back to back, is a near inhuman feat and it must have taken a man of great strength to actually do it. I have always taken inspiration from him and have wanted to touch greatness, like he has done. If I was the kinds to maintain a desk with pictures on it, I would put Lance on it, along with Steve, WEB, sgMS and few more other people. May be soon. Lance, in other words, is my hero. And I am thankful to him for his mere existence and his efforts.

So, today, when I woke up, I loved the feeling. Don't really like waking up early but today was different. A stupid dream was interrupted by a phone call. In that dream I get a boil on my sole and I show it to Mujeer Sir, who is normally quite. He looks at it and starts laughing at it and asks me to stop trying hard. And this is when the phone rang. So when I woke up, I was loving the feeling that I was alive. It was about 7ish in the morning and there was this dim light in my hotel room and it was slightly cold, the kinds that gives you goosebumps. There was this standard white hotel quilt and as array of pillows with different densities. I was comfortable and I was sleepy-awake-sleepy. I even had a message from sgMS sitting in my phone. The world was perfect. And I was raring to go, take it on, head on and work on something grand, just like Lance and other heroes.

And like everyday, I started sipping onto my water and grooving to my morning playlist and was generally checking on the world when I realized that Lance has done a no holds barred interview with Oprah. And in that video, he has confessed to using banned substances to help him win Tour De France. And as I saw it, with each answer I started to got numb. They were direct, easy to understand, pointed questions. And Lance was supposed to answer in simple yeses and nos. And with each one word answer, it started to suck.

For all these years, I was happy being part of the group of people who just stay on the sidelines and keep their true opinions with themselves. But for Lance, I would be vocal, if someone asked me for an opinion and I would live in the world of denial. For me, Lance was a God, who could do no wrong. I dint go around to wearing yellow bands and showcasing my devotion to Lance and foundation. But Lance was/is an important to me. With his confession, the entire thing about him came crashing down around me. From a giant who worked hard and pushed his personal limits, for an instant, he was left on the sidelines as someone who took the easy way out when he could choose to take the road less travelled. From being a winner, he is now the biggest loser that the world has seen.

I dont know how the world would react to it, for me, Lance its a loss beyond comprehension. I feel cheated and it sucked as if I lost in a race that I was participating myself. You were that important to me Lance. You were my role model. If I could I would have modelled my life on yours. And it sucks to know that it was all a pack of lies. I have no clue why would you do it. I am sure there must be some larger reason, than merely winning the race. May be you were fighting against the unpredictable life, by using its own methods or whatever. May be you were greedy. May be you were not. May be you were blinded. I dont know.

But like a delusional disciple of a cult religion, I refuse to see the reason and I want to believe that there was more than what meets the eye. End of the day, Lance, you have my support. I am with you, always will be. You are still my hero. You are still someone who has been able to push boundaries that no one else could. You are still the epitome of human endurance and strength for me.

And, thank you for everything.

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The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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