August 01, 2003

Armstrong: "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."

I've never been an adherent to the notion that sports are a metaphor for life, or even that sports can teach us lessons in life. On the other hand, some people who do sports can come back and teach us.

Lance Armstrong has written a new book and has the first chapter available online.

My favorite line: Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

To me, just finishing the Tour de France is a demonstration of survival. The arduousness of the race, the sheer unreasonableness of the job, the circumnavigation of an entire country on a bicycle, village to village, along its shores, across its bridges, up and over the mountain peaks they call cols, requires a matchless stamina. The Tour is so taxing that Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper once said, after a long climb up an alp, "The snow had turned black in my eyes." It's not unlike the stamina of people who are ill every day. The Tour is a daily festival of human suffering, of minor tragedies and comedies, all conducted in the elements, sometimes terrible weather and sometimes fine, over flats, and into headwinds, with plenty of crashes. And it's three weeks long. Think about what you were doing three weeks ago. It feels like last year.

The race is very much like living—except that its consequences are less dire and there's a prize at the end. Life is not so neat.

Posted by campbell at August 1, 2003 03:08 PM | TrackBack