This here fellow is not auditioning for the next Mel Gibson film about Jesus.
He's not any of the following:
-a flagellate of Iztapalapa, Mexico, who every year mortifies his flesh in imitation of and devotion to Christ,
-a victim of necklacing,
-a hula hooper who mistook razor wire for his hoop,
-a sufferer of the explosive and incredibly painful pustules (known as "bubos") indicative of the bubonic plauge,
-a sufferer of sever eczema (i.e., a guy with diseased or any other kind of epidemic problems with his skin); on the contrary, his skin is marvelously smooth and tough as cowhide, so to speak.
No, he's an 18-year old kid named Darion Fleming, and he's suffering from an incredibly unhealthy affliction called bike racing.
Unfortunately, Darion is gifted and has a natural ability to ride a bike, which makes it fun for him, because, if he stays upright, he tends to win races, or to help his teammates win. This leads him to joyfully enter races by the handful. And this tendency to enter races, thinking he will win, is offset by another tendency--not only of his, but of bike racing generally. That is, the tendency to fall, and have his face, body, ass, legs, arms, ass again, back of the head, loins, shins, ankles, kankles, and loins again smeared and possibly pummeled on the pavement in a totally, utterly painful and completely disrespectful way.
This sucks, because Darion is a great guy; he listens, he's smart, and he's cocky in exactly the right way. And he's totally suffering right now from listening to all the advice us cycling assholes have been giving him!
This is proof not only that those of us who encouraged him are idiots, but that there's a malicious divinity out there.
Darion couldn't have been good at a nice, safe sport like, say, bocce ball.
No, the Lord made him to excel at an incredibly dangerous and haphazardly vicious sport, racing his bike. His purpose in existence is to ride alongside a bunch of middle aged no-talent ass monkeys with nothing else to live for, homicidal maniacs whose jobs, families, health and futures are willingly hazarded for the sake of a 20$ Spinnervals DVD. To us, Darion is nothing but a large speedbump to be ridden down on the path to Spinnervals DVD glory. We will use whatever means--yes, even drugs--necessary to beat this whippersnapper with the vicious sprint.
By the way, there's sort of a vicious circle with those DVDs. Coach Troy is incredibly motivational, and following his instructions leads to incredible fitness, which leads one to be strong enough to get more Spinnervals DVDs as primes, which makes one stronger, which leads one to collect more...
Collecting the whole set? Well, I'd say doing it would let me die a happy man, but I will probably die in a bike race, ridden down by some other Coach Troy disciple, long before the apotheosis of that dream.
Still, as Socrates might well have said, what's life without direction?
I had planned a different kind of essay this week for Ol' Pap's, one about Rock Creek Velo. I had asked them some questions, and they responded with amazingly intelligent answers, without any kind of spelling errors that would let me gloat about how young kids these days are way dumber than we were, which is one of Ol' Pap's favorite topics to bitch about. So I was somewhat disappointed.
Seeing Darion in rough shape, it's hard to encourage these kids to progress in our sport. What do I say to them? Yeah, keep at it. Get your friends to do it. I could do this, buy stock in Tegaderm, and make a killing, but that's hardly...
Actually, not a bad idea.
Get out there kids! Darion, you are gifted and you will never, ever fall again! Ride your bikes! You're all going to be pros. Dive those corners! Rubbing is racing! You have a bright future ahead of you, if not in cycling, in the world of skin graft research.
C'mon, 3M (parent company of Tegaderm).