Sunday, July 19, 2009

Where wasteful time debateth with decay...

to change your day of youth to sullied night.

Garminean douchebaggery kept George Hincapie out of yellow yesterday. Hincapie, 6'3", 1
65 pounds of sinew and skeleton, has seen thirteen tours, five olympics, and countless classics. But he's never donned the yellow jersey; and probably never will.* What a great story it would have been...

Born: 1973

This morning, Tom Watson bogeyed the 18th hole, then collapsed in a playoff to lose the Open Championship to Stewart Cink. Great story. Not to be.

Born: 1949

Also today: Lance Armstrong watched Alberto Contador launch to the finish on Verbier. He could only cling to Kloden's wheel and pace himself as the Schleck brothers, Sastre, and Wiggins gave chase. Sad, sad.

Born: 1971

A reminder: all the old guys eventually suck.

Since everybody dies and the dead suck at everything, this is trivially true. You don't have to worry about dead guys pipping you at the line.

See? This is how I contemplate mortality. Juvenile observations.

The point is that we all hate and fear aging, and if you're like me anyway, you always want to see the veterans pulling out one last magnificent performance. Nicklaus shooting 65 to win the Masters at age 46. That sort of thing. You want to see it because it tells us that you, too, could, in some very remote sense of 'could', still do something amazing like that.

More often that not, even the towering figures of sport do not come through on that fantasy. Willie Mays in chasing fly balls in his 40's was not a pretty site. Michael Jordan with the Wizards was a shadow of his former self. It's not the narrative we want, but Time wins these contests... in the end, every last one of them.

Wish I had something more "uplifting" to "share", but, as Armstrong said today, "that's reality for me". If you've read about his battle with cancer, you'll know Armstrong is a cold-eyed realist if ever there was one.

I could prattle on, but why even try when you've got all the poets writing on the theme? Pick
a random sonnet.

* Footnote: speaking of douchebaggery... what about my fact checking? I remembered Hincapie winning (2005 + TTT's), but forgot he was ever in yellow (2006). Sigh. Dementia.


Chuck Wagon said...

The Garminian douchebaggery was indeed replete but George has worn yellow. 1 day, like 3 or 4 years ago.

Anonymous said...

This blog entry was destined to be great, except, alas, Hincapie actually DID wear the jersey briefly during the 2006 Tour.

qualia said...

damn, damn...

Anonymous said...

Garmin and the other GC teams had good reasons for not wanting Hincapie in Yellow. Nocentini knew he would lose the jersey in Verbier, so his team was not going to do any work on that stage even if he still had the jersey going in. Thus, the work would fall to Astana. If George was in yellow, Columbia would have been at the front all day to put on a show for their man, who would only have been in yellow for that day. This would have given Astana a nice day off and the whole team would have arrived fresh at the base of the Verbier. This would have been bad news for Garmin's two GC riders. This is the same reason Silence Lotto came to the front for a while, too. Nocentini still in Yellow = more work for Astana. Simple.

qualia said...

Makes a lot more sense than Garmin's official explanation: "we didn't want to get gapped and lose time at the finish".