I was sitting at home recently watching the highly entertaining Federer v Tsonga Australian Open quarterfinal when my seven year old son said, “Tsonga must be on drugs.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well Federer is really good and he might beat him so he must be on drugs.”
“Thanks very much Lance Armstrong,” I thought to myself. That was the final nail in the coffin for me.
I’m a cycling aficionado and a former Lance disciple but now I’m bitterly angry with him and desperately concerned he might get an ounce of sympathy or redemption.
So I took my son out on a run and talked to him about the satisfaction of training hard, pushing through pain when you want to stop and ultimately achieving something.
Like so many sports fans, I love to marvel at the extreme talent, strength, endurance and mental fortitude on show from the world’s best athletes.
To watch Federer play Nadal in a Wimbledon final, Sebastian Vettel take a chequered flag, Usain Bolt set a world record easing up or Cadel Evans turn himself inside out in the French Alps, is to watch human endeavor at its very best.
It frustrates me to think there’s a ripple effect of scandals like Armstrong or Ben Johnson that permeates our broader subconscious, creating a flickering of scepticism for completely unrelated events.
Hopefully we can now just get back to watching the best athletes do their thing (speaking of which, could we just have the best cricketers playing for Australia please?)