Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Let me perfectly clear, I am in favor of Lance Armstrong Day.
Of course, I am also in favor of an Alison Berkley Day. And an Alberto Contador Day and an Andy Schleck Day. And, and … well, hell, I think everybody should have their own day.
But having said that, Steve Skadron picked up my vote for re-election this week for his objections to Mayor Mick’s idolization plan to honor Lance with a city proclamation and a day of his own.
“He has lived here all of five minutes,” was the quote reported to have been uttered by Skadron after Mayor Mick (that’s just so fun to write) asked City Clerk Koch to draw up a draft of a city proclamation to honor Lance following his third place finish in the Tour de France. It takes courage to tell the emperor that he has no clothes, and Skadron apparently was the only one in the council chambers who had enough to say, “Hey, let’s not get carried away here.”
Lance’s performance in France was spectacular. Had it not been for the skill and excellence of his teammate and rival Contador, who at age 26 can be forgiven for “having a lot to learn” as Lance put it following his defeat, he may well have won the Tour. Regardless, his stated goal was increasing cancer awareness and raising money for his foundation. He did both in spades, so I give him credit for achieving things that transcend winning a jersey in a bike race. Even if it is the Yellow Jersey. Even if it is the Tour de France.
But Mayor Mick’s move sounded a little self-serving. Kind of like it was about us, or about Mick, rather than a genuine offering of support and congratulations. It just seemed like jumping on a bandwagon so someone could see us playing the drum.
Besides, we have other athletes here in the valley who get far less credit, have lived here far longer and, in some cases, have also overcome extreme odds. The Gentlemen of Aspen come to mind. I don’t know if we have had a Gentlemen of Aspen Day decreed by proclamation, I assume they must have in the past, based upon their heroic success. But they beat the Barbarians this past week and that seems to me a tougher task than taking on a 126-pound Spaniard who still has a lot to learn.
Lance’s cause is a great one. One day his foundation may even be the one that finds a cure for cancer. Then we should have an international Lance Armstrong Month honoring his efforts. But Steve Skadron’s objection to the Lance Armstrong Day was not in any way a rebuke of Lance and his cause. It was just, I thought, a thoughtful response to a runaway train.
Maybe we should have a Steve Skadron Day.
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