Josh Frigerio, a member of the Omaha.com staff, wrote this guest blog for momaha.com.
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When I was a kid, I remember rummaging through the house to find the biggest beach towel so my mom could tie it around my neck like a cape.
Suddenly, I became anybody I wanted to be.
Some days I was a superhero zipping around the kitchen table dodging chairs. Other days I was a young David Copperfield pushing a pencil through a Styrofoam cup filled with water — and not letting a single drop spill.
As kids — and even adults — we’re constantly looking up to someone. A hero.
For many, that hero was a cyclist named Lance Armstrong.
As I’ve been following the the news surrounding him this week, I’m conflicted. I’m don’t know whether to be upset, let down or both.
Armstrong recently admitted to taking banned drugs and blood transfusions during all seven of his victories in the Tour de France.
What do you do when a public figure fails to live up to your expectations?
In 2004, the Armstrong, a cancer survivor, campaigned to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation — now the Livestrong Foundation — to aid cancer research by selling yellow “LIVESTRONG” wristbands.
I believed in him.
Those wristbands became popular during my middle-school years. I begged my parents to buy 100 of them that I could re-sell to friends and raise money for the foundation.
The plan didn’t work. I sold fewer than 10 wristbands, and that box full of leftovers sat in my closet.
Every so often I’d see it and remember what the bands stood for — and more importantly — who they were fighting for. I’d put on a new one, and feel like I was again saving the world, even if it was for just a moment.
Now that image has been tainted.
Armstrong is in the midst of a credibility crisis.
The worst part is now I’m in a credibility crisis.
I have no interest in cycling, I’m not working to win a bike race, but I bought into this idea that he was fighting for people.
When do you stop supporting someone you looked up to? Do you forgive and forget and move on?
I’m not sure, but it is easier said than done.
Josh Frigerio is an online editor at the Omaha World-Herald. Follow his work by clicking here.
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