We Ain’t Talking JACK Armstrong Here!

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 09:39 AM.

I certainly don’t want to sell Lance Armstrong short here. Maybe the six hours a day practices were his ride to town. His baseball game! He certainly pedaled into fame and fortune that was way beyond anything we could have imagined or accomplished with our Western Flyers.

We did race some. You couldn’t have a bicycle in McKenzie, Tennessee, in those days without “testing it out” from time to time. Dave and I would start at the top of the hill in front of Paul David Campbell’s house and race the half of mile or so to where the blacktop ended as Stonewall Street turned into Moore Avenue. I was older and stronger. He was lighter and had the faster bike. The playing field was pretty equal for us. Joe and Richard Gooch would wheel out from their driveway and it would be a four man dash to the finish!

There were, of course, no prizes for winning, unless you count the thrill of victory. We would not have accepted a yellow shirt back then even if they were handing them out. We would however, if we got the chance, cheat to win. I have let a little air out of David’s back tire on occasion. I have “leaned in” on Richard a few times to throw his stride off. John Ingram beat me most every time we hooked up between his house and the railroad tracks up beside the City Café. I didn’t find out till we were seniors that he would tank up on a couple of Root Beers before the race to add a little sugar high to his metabolism. No wonder I would race off to the lead only to have him fly past me as I engineered the last small incline as the tracks appeared in sight! 

It would be hypocritical of me to jump on the “let’s get Lance Armstrong” bandwagon. I don’t know the man. I can’t imagine the pressure of racing for real money. Or having to impress sponsors every time out! Or fighting for endorsements to keep the riding hopes alive. I’d say stripping him of his titles is a pretty fierce punishment in its own right. Bobby Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens are feeling some of the same pains in another sport.

I hope we’re not heading toward a mandatory point where all your sins must be aired on CNN or Sportscenter. This could get a little more serious than just some idle sports mucky-t muck. I don’t want anyone showing up with a microphone and a camera asking me or Bobby Brewer who painted a certain girl’s name across the water tower in 1964……or stopped up the main city drain behind Broadway Street…….isn’t there a stature of limitations…..



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