Friday, July 14, 2006

Floyd Landis Is A New Hero For Me

Or, I'm such a wimp.

When I was a kid, I was a skinny little runt. You can look back through my posts for some of the childhood photos I've put on here. But starting when I was in about the fourth grade, the battle of the bulge(s) had begun.

I've been a moose ever since.

I'm a relatively young 43, but have had four back surgeries. In my last surgery the orthopaedic Dr. removed my lowest two disks and put in some thingies that fill the disk spaces and promote bone growth. I now have a nice fusion of bone a the base of my spine.

But as anyone who has back problems, or knows someone who has back problems, can attest, surgery is just to make you better. It will never restore you to a previous state of health. You get to a point with pain and disability to where the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks. Plus, my last surgery, they cut me open in the front, moved my guts out of the way and did work on the front of my spine. Put everything back in place and flipped me over and did another surgery through my back to install rods and screws and such.

I still live with a certain level of pain. In fact, I stayed home from work yesterday because I literally could not get up. Physically the pain would take over and stop me from moving more. I finally got up after about 30-45 minutes of effort and prayer.

And through all of this, I would do my surgery over again in a heartbeat because my quality of life is much, much better now than before my last surgery.

Ok. I understand. So where does the wimp part come in?

Glad you asked. Actually it could come in on several levels. You see, one of the few sports I follow is professional cycling. Guys who ride bicycles in races for a living. That's a pretty wimpish sport for a Southern Boy to like. I dislike baseball for the most part. I detest basketball. I hate NASCAR too. And with the recent World Cup of Soccer (the real football to the rest of the world), well you can look back and tell from the zero posts about it here that I just don't give a hoot. But if anything, I like that France lost, but that's a personal problem really.

The Tour De France is going on right now. It seems strange to be so attracted to a sport in which I am about twice the body weight of the average rider.

But the Tour De France is the 'Big Dog' of cycling. The worst riders in The Tour are better than most riders anywhere else in the world. It's truly the best of the best in this race, year in, year out.

I watched the coverage of The Tour yesterday on OLN on cable.

The American, Floyd Landis, is now in the overall lead of the race, roughly half way through the three week race.

He put on a show of strength riding his bicycle up several steep MOUNTAINS in the Pyrenees to step into the Yellow Jersey given to the overall leader of the race.

Cheeze Whiz! Would you get to the point already? Gyah!

The present, overall leader of the 2006 Tour De France, Floyd Landis, has a right hip that is so damaged that after The Tour, he's supposed to have hip replacement surgery.

I want that to sink into your peanut heads, ok? So, I repeat:

The present, overall leader of the 2006 Tour De France, Floyd Landis, has a right hip that is so damaged that after The Tour, he's supposed to have hip replacement surgery.

The guy can barely walk. He's in constant pain, although he does say that riding his bicycle is the time when he's in the least amount of pain.

And yesterday's stage covered about 200km. (That's one-hundred-twenty-five-miles to us bone heads in America too lazy to learn the metric system. Hey, I think I smell the stench of a post-worthy rant about that.) Through the mountains. On a bicycle.

But still, Floyd Landis, one of the best athletes of any type of sport, IN THE WORLD TODAY, has a hip that is in such bad shape, most of us would be at the Social Security office right now filling out forms to be put on the permanent total disability list.

And this guy is, for the time being at least, the leader in THE most grueling sporting event in the world today. Of course, that's my opinion, but you would have to search pretty far to find a sporting event that is even close to being as tough as The Tour De France.

All my joking on this blog about France aside, this is one of the world's great sporting events. And I love seeing Americans doing so well in what was once the exclusive domain of the Europeans, but the history and drama of this event is something to relish.

So on days like yesterday, when things look so grim for me, really, it's hard to feel like everything's going to be ok when I hurt that bad, it's a blessing to me to see examples of strength and determination such as what Floyd Landis displayed.

Even middle aged guys need heroes to look up to.

I use people like Floyd Landis to help me motivate myself to do more when I might otherwise give up. And I try to keep this verse going through my head like a tune I can't stop.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

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