Saturday, July 9, 2005

WHY I FOLLOW THE TOUR de FRANCE

NO LONGER EMBARRASSED. Each year now, I am smitten afresh by the Tour de France. I used to be mildly embarrassed by the intensity of my enthusiasm for it. But that was several years ago. I now join with millions of roadside fanatics and multiple millions of interested viewers on TV and radio in my unbridled enthusiasm for the annual July epic. Call it a mania, call it whatever. It is, for me, a good exercise.

CENTER STAGE FOR MY MARGINAL SPORT. As an avid cyclist, it is pleasing to see something I so enjoy take center stage for a month. It's a bit of a redemption for the "marginal" place on the road to which we cyclists are routinely relegated. I have faint hopes that average Joe's will catch something similar to mild respect for the Tour de France participants and translate that into empathy for my two-wheeled compatriots and me as we toil along the side of the road generally trying to stay out of harm's way.

LESSONS FOR LIFE. As a student of culture, Christianity, and the Bible, I enjoy the Tour de France as a dynamic and developing story rolling through time with an end point, engaging basic human energies, hopes, strategies, etc. There is an epic or mythic tenor to this annual journey. The strongest do not always win. Unheralded people reach deep to find surprising resources. Tragedy twists the story and the unexpected must be immediately confronted. Skill must be balanced with stamina and savvy. Suffering endured is somehow redeemed, not just for one, but for all.

More later.

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