October 20, 2014

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The man who destroyed his past
Written by Bob Hyle   
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:12 PM

This is a tale of three different men. One destroyed his past, the second has to deal with uncertainty about his future, and the third is someone I’ve written thousands of words about over the years and is going to get a hundred or so more.

The first man is Lance Armstrong. My son used to call me a player-hater when Armstrong was winning bicycling titles because I blanched when people would call him the greatest athlete in the world.

I acknowledged Armstrong had great strength and endurance, but no bicyclist could ever make my list of 10 greatest athletes.

Now, like Pete Rose, Armstrong has acknowledged the truth about his cheating.

I feel sadness that someone who inspired so many could do what he did, but please don’t tell me about his wonderful deeds in fighting cancer. I don’t want to hear it.

Armstrong will not be leaving the public stage, though. His personal fortune, estimated at $125 million, will be under attack as people line up to get back some of the money he fraudulently earned. I believe his attorneys will ask for a cash retainer up front.

Our second man is the Catfish himself, Manti Te’o, newly honored as being the man with the strangest celebrity story in history. Someone should have shown Te’o the brilliant New Yorker magazine cartoon by Peter Steiner. In it, a dog sits in a chair in front of a computer, turns to another dog and says, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

The confusing tale of the hoax surrounding Te’o and his pretend girlfriend brings to mind the two great conspiracy questions asked by former Sen. Howard Baker at the Watergate hearings 40 years ago: What did you know and when did you know it?

I can’t imagine any crimes have been committed in this scenario, but it will take time for people to forget about this ridiculous tale.

I believe the NFL, which employs dozens of characters much shadier than Te’o, will be unbothered by the story. He’s under more scrutiny from NFL personnel people for his performance in the BCS title game against Alabama.

Our third person is my son, Jeffrey, who on Monday hit the age of 30. That’s a big number, particularly for his parents. Where does the time go?

It’s interesting that the day before my son’s birthday, his Partner in Love celebrated her 30th birthday.

A while ago, I referred to her as his “life partner” and later learned that term is used by gay and lesbian couples to refer to their relationship. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

That’s why I’m going with Partner in Love and I’m hoping that my never-ending search to get a word in the American Dialect Society’s word of the year contest is somehow fulfilled. (You’ll remember my push for “sprummer” some time ago.)

If I make it on this earth another 26 years, I’ll enjoy the look on his face when his child hits 30.

Numbers don’t make me feel old near as much as my creaky joints do, but when you add up the more than 10,000 days that he’s been on earth you wonder how you made it this far.

At least he did it without PEDs and with a PIl that is real.

Bob Hyle covers sports and writes a weekly column for The Harrison Press. He lives in Bright.