In just over a month, I've seen history made twice. First with SpaceShip One and now Lance Armstrong has won his 6th consecutive Tour de France. People have accused Armstrong of being egotistical, brash, and self-centered. All of these may be true, but like Muhammed Ali, it's okay to act like you're the greatest in the world when you are the greatest in the world. Like Ali, Armstrong has had a... colorful... personal life, but he sticks to what he believes in, and he loves what he does. He's never claimed to be a great family man. He's never claimed to be level-headed. The only thing he's claimed is that he is a cyclist. And he's proven that.
We must always remember that our heroes are human, and remember why they are our heroes. Armstrong is a cycling hero, who has used his heroics to do some great things outside the world of cycling. Ali was a boxing hero, who lived what he believed. They are not marriage heroes. They are not people I want to style my life after, but there are parts of my life that I hope to model off of theirs. In determination, focus, and perserverence I can dream of being like Armstrong or Ali. But at the same time, I will not become a boxer, nor will I ride a bike competatively just because they do. I am not Lance Armstrong... I am not Muhammad Ali... I am me, and they are heroes to me, not because I want to be like them, but because I hope to be the best that I can be at what I do. I want to be a husband and father with the kind of zeal that Armstrong rides a bike. I want to set my goals and do everything in my power to reach them. And if I fail, I want to make the best of my failure. I want to turn the bad into a source of strength for myself and others. In this, I want to be like Lance Armstrong... but I don't want to be Lance Armstrong.
It's like the analogies on the SAT:
Lance Armstrong is to Cycling as I am to My Life.
But the best part about heroes is there are many... you can substitute for Lance Armstrong other names from this Tour. Jan Ullrich, JosÃ© Azevedo, Richard Virenque, Thomas Voeckler, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, and even Tyler Hamilton, as well as all of the 147 riders who finished this race and many of the ones who could not.