I’ve been going through old photographs, trying to put together some photo books of the kids over the years. It’s an interesting process (did they ever look that young?) and I’m enjoying it, even if it is taking away from my writing time. Hey, I’ve got a voucher that has to be used by a certain date, so I’ve prioritised. This is fine with me.
Anyway, as I was going through the files, some pictures emerged of a bike race that we attended a few years back, in which Lance Armstrong was competing. At the time we thought it was a vague point of interest but nothing else – we’re not big cycling fans and only went because it was convenient and we thought our then two-year-old would enjoy it. We were joking that every cyclist we saw on the road at that time was Lance, whether they looked anything like him or not, and it was more comical than anything. And if nothing else, we could say that we had seen Lance Armstrong ride. Something to tick off your bucket list, so to speak.
Looking at it now, though, brings completely different thoughts to mind. Was he on drugs at the time? It’s more than likely. How many other riders were using banned substances? How much of that race was actually a race of clean riders? Sure, it’s a question you could ask with every professional cycling event, but the recent revelations about the Armstrong camp and others have cast a new light on it.
Now, we haven’t talked about it much with our eldest. We want him to continue to think of sport as something that you do because you enjoy it, not because winning is the only acceptable result. The very concept of someone cheating like that is still alien to him, and we see no need to introduce him to it just yet. For him, it’s still the innocence of participating. For us, though, those memories have become somewhat tainted. That race, which we had enjoyed, now wears a more sinister air, and I’m not really comfortable with it.
You may say, well you enjoyed it at the time, so why would that change? And to a degree, that’s right. The day itself was great. There is, though, that sense of disappointment that pervades any thought about it now, kind of like thinking about the great dates with a guy (or girl) who you later learned was cheating on you. It soils the good of the memory. Which brings me to this blog.
Have you ever had an experience which, while good enough at the time, has since become tainted due to something you found out later? How did that affect your thoughts about it at the time? And, to put a writing bent on it, have you ever done that to your characters?
I’d love to hear about it.
- Disappointment – a writer’s companion? (ebarnes23.wordpress.com)
- Lessons from Lance Armstrong – Modeling is 80% of Parenting (blogher.com)
- ‘Lance Armstrong was my hero but now he’s wrecked cycling’ (standard.co.uk)