Like everything else in Texas, sports are huge. On the professional level, we have the Cowboys, Oilers, Mavericks, Spurs and Rangers. Breaking out of the blatant “Home on the Range” theme and going more astrologic, we also have the Stars and the Astros. Collegiate sport teams include the Mustangs (Go ‘Stangs!), Longhorns and Aggies (something to do with Agriculture), along with some random animal mascots like Eagles, Bobcats and Horned Frogs. (Go Horned Frogs?) In addition, Texas has fathered world class boxers, swimmers, golfers, sailors and even volleyball players.
Then there’s The Lance. Possibly the most famous athlete to hail from the Lone Star State is Lance Armstrong. And I want to meet him. Honestly, it’s hard to believe I haven’t and I’m starting to think Lance is avoiding me.
No other athlete has been awarded so many accolades: Lance was the Associated Press’s Male Athlete of the Year four times, was given similar titles from many other organizations throughout the years and was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2008. As we all know, he achieved what no other cyclist ever had by winning the Tour de France seven times. Yet this is not why I want to meet him.
A cancer survivor and now an advocate for the overall health, Lance inspires us all through his philanthropy as well as his athleticism. He embodies dedication, perseverance, focus, strength and from what I’ve heard, Lance even has a quirky sense of humor. Though highly admirable, these traits still don’t influence my need to become his new best friend. The fact that he has an incredible kitchen (so I read) has absolutely no effect either – other than making me jealous.
The truth is: I need to meet Lance Armstrong because it’s my destiny. A destiny that has been teasing me for decades…
1. Lance Armstrong grew up in Plano, Texas. I also grew up in Plano, Texas.
Lance was a City of Plano Swimmer (COPS); I, too, was a contender for COPS but I chose to focus on music as opposed to sports in high school. Mistake number one, I could have been frolicking in the water with Lance when instead I was playing the piano and banging on drums. (Lance, did you know my friend Jim Romanski from COPS?)
2. Just before my husband and I started dating, Henk met the then 19 year old Lance Armstrong. Henk had a friend, Miji (Mary Jane) Reoch – a world class cyclist herself – who used to cycle with Lance. Indeed, some would say Lance was her protégé but I’ll wait until I meet Lance to ask him. Miji hosted many dinner parties and it was at one of those that Henk spent the evening hanging out with Mr. Armstrong. (Hey Lance, do you remember the Dutchman named Henk?)
Note: I never had the opportunity to attend a party at Miji’s because, only a few weeks after I met her, she was killed. While cycling around White Rock Lake in Dallas, Miji was hit head-on by a drunk driver on an early Sunday morning.
3. Fast forward to the early twenty-first century, my family and I were living in a small coastal town in Costa Brava, Spain. Called L’Escala, it is situated about 15 miles northeast of Girona. At the time, Lance was living in Girona; cycling along the coast where I was probably driving at the very same time. Five thousand plus miles away from Plano or Dallas, Lance and I were together yet so far away. (Lance, did you ever notice my car in L’Escala? It had Texas license plates. Hard to miss. I was the blonde behind the wheel.)
4. In the summer of 2009, we had been living in France for 5 years. One of the last stages of the Tour de France was scheduled to end in Perpignan: a mere ten miles from our house. Bedecked in “Don’t Mess with Texas” t-shirts, facial and hand paint and waving quite large Texas flags, my family and I waited at the finish line. Looking like complete nincompoops, I might add. (Did you see us, Lance?)
5. We now live in the Texas Hill Country, a bit south of Austin. You probably can guess who else lives here…Lance Armstrong. (Lance, when are you coming for dinner? I promise to find a recipe for rattlesnake which you love so much at Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin.)
Lance Armstrong is the carrot and I am the horse. Possibly it’s the other way around. I am a dog chasing my tail. Lance is the monkey on my back and I need him. Lance Armstrong is my belly button and I am his lint, therefore he must acknowledge me.
This has to stop. It is beyond ridiculous.
I am destined to meet you, Lance. Quit denying the obvious and send an email.