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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Professional Cycling VS. Professional Wrestling

I've been a long-time fan of professional cycling. Never miss the grand tours like the Tour de France or the Spring classics. But by following the sport of professional cycling one can learn many things: The spirit of competition, the grandeur of exotic European places and pharmacology terms like: Clenbuterol, Erythropoietin (EPO), Human Growth Hormone and blood doping. A regular fan of cycling these days can rattle off a litany of performance enhancing drugs and techniques that would surely impress their old high school chemistry teachers. It comes with the territory.

And so now it seems that for me the sport of cycling has reached the level of the old World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWF). When broken down and examined, don't our arguments in sport now really just consist of "Is it real or is it fake?".

Before the World Wide Wrestling Federation was finally forced to go before Congress and admit they were "just entertainment" and became the WWE, there was DECADES of speculation. We always suspected but they never admitted it and if a reporter or talk show host asked the question, well they invariably got body slammed and sent to hospital. THAT wasn't fake. That's not to say that the "wrestlers" weren't great athletes or that they didn't really get hurt but did they really beat the heck out of each other like it looked or was the drama of the championship match result real or pre-determined. Was it all just a show?

And so here we are. Is cycling a real sport with purity of participation where the playing field is level and the outcome is up for grabs or is it all a fake where the participants are "endowed" with advantages that make the results less of a crap-shoot and more of a sure thing? Surely they are superb athletes but were they always so talented or did their talent come from another source? With our cycling "heros" denying it's fake for years and then, when up against the wall, come clean and say that everything we had previously believed was true is now a lie? Is there any difference?

And the sponsors, knowing it was really only entertainment all along, will not go away once the cat is out of the bag since people still tune into the NFL, MLB and the NBL et al knowing they're most likely all "enhanced" to begin with. People will watch ANYTHING!

So what we have left is the World Wide Cycling Entertainment (WWCE) with the riders pretending to be clean and the governing bodies pretending to catch them. Each month we're treated to another "drama" of an athlete in jeopardy because they are a suspected "cheat" or in WWF terms, the "bad-guy" sullying the integrity of the hallowed sport. Oh, how we cheer when the bad guy is vanquished and we have a new "white hat" to root for.  It's all part of the entertainment.

And what are you going to do about it, watch World Cup Soccer?  Don’t make me laugh.

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