Lance Armstrong, Can't You Please Stay Retired?

Casey MichelCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2008

And now, for your reading pleasure, a scene from Lance Armstrong’s recent therapy session in which the chatty, highly critical shrink dissects Lance’s recent decision to rejoin the Tour de France.

Tell me, Lance—who do you think you are? Michael Jordan?

Sure, you were both the greatest in your respective sports, brought fans to their feet, and royalty to their knees. Your names are synonymous with complete success, although you never stuck your tongue out when crossing under L’Arc de Triomph.

Your dedication to such a unique craft was unequaled and rewarded with the highest accolades that Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon could ever bestow.

But MJ had it easy, Lance. He had actual teammates, not those punks you have out-shoving rival riders to the side. He had Pippen, Kerr, Kukoc, and the Worm.

You have, what, Floyd Landis? The guy who blamed Jack Daniels for his failed drug test? Now, now, I’m not implying you doped too—you offered to post your lab results online, which is only fair—but to come back on a “team” sponsored by a city in Kazakhstan? Is this the sequel to Borat or something?

I know he got three more rings during the first comeback, but you got to remember that MJ stayed in shape as a season-long promotion for the Birmingham Barons. You’ve merely toured the country (including Rice!) as a spokesperson for cancer research. Not exactly the most physically exerting task, if you ask me.

And I don’t even need to remind you of MJ’s Washington Wizards campaign — although in fairness, at least you won’t have to team up with Kwame Brown.

Still, Lance, who do you think you are? Brett Favre?

Again, I see the resemblance—you’re both grizzled, you’ve both fought back from terrible adversity (you had testicular cancer, he’s from Mississippi), and you can both draw crowds bigger crowds than Woodstock.

But Favre’s decision to come back wasn’t without its share of problems, Lance. The guy’s return was more divisive than the Iraq War and Sarah Palin’s new haircut combined. There were cries of treason heard from the flowing hills of Appleton, Wisc., to the snow-covered cherry trees of Oshkosh, Wisc.

And all the while the New York Jets, a team more forgotten than Roseanne Barr, were put back on the map. You’re not saying you want Roseanne back, are you, Lance?


But really Lance, who do you think you are? 90210?

Sure, you dabbled with Sheryl Crow, who seems pretty Californian. And you kinda look like Kirk Douglas, in the right light.

But you are a gunslinger from the Lone Star state, taking over the Texan throne that Roger Clemens vacated when he decided to let dudes stick needles in his butt.

You and Beverly Hills go together as well as Shannon Doherty and the 21st century. At least she’ll always have Scare Tactics to fall back on. Nope, wait, that’s hosted by Tracy Morgan now. Dang, things really aren’t looking up for ShanDo.

So c’mon Lance, who do you think you are? Batman?

It’s been argued that the greatest graphic novel of all-time is Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Are you telling that you could be a retired, mid-50s Batman, still reeling from Robin’s untimely demise but forcing yourself to face the Joker one last time?

Actually, that may work—you’ve vanquished the French seven times now, so what harm is there in going for an eighth?

But here’s the thing, Lance—in TDKR, Batman’s hand is forced, and the Joker doesn’t quite make it. Are you implying you’d like to go mano-a-mano with French president Nicolas Sarkozy? I’m no bookie, but when a guy like Sarkozy can bed Carla Bruni, he probably has a few tricks up his sleeve.

I’ll ask you one last time, Lance: Who do you think you are? Georgian territorial integrity? I guess you’ve both been in the news recently, but really, how could you possibly compare yourself to a former Soviet Bloc?

I don’t see you being trampled by Russian tanks. I don’t see Russian troops giving illegal passports or non-native currency to your breakaway provinces. And while you both have a fierce independent streak, I don’t think Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s eyes are nearly as blue as yours.

So Lance, even after all these comparisons, you’re telling me you still want to come out of retirement, crushing the dreams of those who thought a superstar might, for once, actually stay retired?

Well, that’s just nuts.

(Oh, sorry—nut.)