July 21, 2004
Ball sports guys have their predictable say
I am a cycling fan, not primarily a Lance Armstrong fan, but I've got to thank Armstrong for 2 things: Getting the Tour on OLN, and getting enough press that most local sportscasters don't make jokes about the Tour anymore.
Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and former Nasty Boys reliever Rob Dibble, now a sports radio host, has been venting the fairly typical blather about cycling not being a sport. According to Infospigot:
Dibble said that cycling isn't really a sport because "the bike does a lot of the work" and Lance can "coast on it and sit on it."
This led Infospigot to send a friendly (?) challenge for Dibble, who once possessed a 100-mph fastball:
Rob, I'm sure you doubt all this. But I think I could prove my point to you and your audience. I think a fair test would be to pit you, an elite one-time professional athlete who utterly dismisses the idea that bike racing is challenging, against a retired pro cyclist. Someone like Greg Lemond, who's been out of the game for awhile. But you know, that might be stacking the odds against you. What I'd really like to do is get you on a bike myself and do a little race. Maybe 20 miles or so. A route with some climbs and some descents. I'm 50. A run-of-the-mill cyclist. I'd love to have you show me how easy the sport is.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2004 | Permalink
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I'm 52 yrs old and ride mostly in southern Louisiana (pretty flat country) and I'm willing to bet that me and my group could drop Dibble like a bad hangover. The point is we're average cyclist - my last three rides were 23, 36, and 27 miles respectively. Dibbs would get tired sitting in the whirlpool for that length of time. What these guys do on the Tour is mind boggling in terms of endurance, intensity, danger, mental resolve, tenacity, and preparation.
Posted by: Big B at Jul 21, 2004 6:45:36 PM
Obviously, Mr. Dibble has never been on a road ride in mountainous country. We should give him no further thought.
Posted by: Chuckybuckets at Jul 21, 2004 8:43:02 PM
Oh god, I have no clue who this Dibble fellow is but I suppose he thinks a bunch of overgrown men chasing a ball around a court or field is the epitome of sporting achievement. I'll happily leave 95% of American men to their meaningless pro team ball sports so long as we have our OLN! Their loss.
Posted by: lancefan at Jul 21, 2004 9:03:31 PM
Lancefan, no worries...as they say in Big B's part of the world (Southern Louisiana), Rob Dibble is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
If you knew who he was, you'd be incredibly unconcerned with his comments...even about baseball.
I'd defer to Shaquille O'Neal who is on record that Lance Armstrong is the toughest athlete in the world.
Posted by: Jason O. at Jul 21, 2004 9:32:10 PM
I think everyone is overreacting a bit here. From what I heard, Dibble never claimed that Armstrong (and cyclists) aren't athletes, just that by his weird definition cycling isn't a sport. It didn't make a lot of sense, but he wasn't insulting the athletic accomplishments of cyclists.
And if I did miss the part where he dismissed cyclists as athletes (at most, I catch maybe 20 minutes of the show while driving home), from what I've heard of Dibble he was probably trolling for reactions such as these.
And while I disagree with him in this instance, I can kind of see his point where some athletic endeavors are not necessarily sports. Frankly, I've had it with watching _competitions_ like diving, gymnastics, and ice skating. These are wonderfully gifted athletes at the total whim of judges - unfortunately, I can't think of an objective way to score these. As opposed to _sports_ where, at the end of the day, someone as scored more/fewer, gone faster, farther, longer, etc. When it's over, the tally is on the scoreboard and no whining about the Romanian judge.
The fact that your grandmother could bury Dibble in a track sprint really doesn't address his point...which was meaningless in the first place.
Posted by: bill at Jul 22, 2004 8:51:55 AM
I love baseball, but anyone who participated in a sport in which you can compete with a big plug of chaw in your mouth probably ought not be casting stones at other sports.
Posted by: C. S. Froning at Jul 22, 2004 12:21:48 PM