Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Le Tour, Revisited...
(... but first, thanks to Cardozo for his clear-sighted and well-reasoned defense of Obama in response to yesterday's entry in The Buddha Diaries. I trust that readers will check it out. It deserves not to languish in obscurity.)
Those who have followed The Buddha Diaries for a little while will not be surprised by my confession of a long-standing addiction to the Tour de France. It came about because I was myself a cycling enthusiast for a brief period during my teenage years. My sporty red drop-handlebar bicycle offered me the opportunity, a couple of times a week, to escape the confines of my all-boys boarding school and pedal off, alone, into the Sussex Downs--not incidentally with a contraband pack of cigarettes aboard for a furtive smoke behind the bushes. My enthusiasm did not, I'm sad to say, extend beyond those school years: the slacker's choice of a motorized two-wheeler called--and cigarettes, unfortunately, were abundantly available and no longer forbidden. Of these twin addictions, it was certainly the least desirable. It took me another thirty years to quit.
But I still do love to follow the Tour de France--available these days, thanks to the marvel of satellite TV, from start to finish every day. (I record the stages, so that I can skip through the plentiful commercials.) I was anticipating that last year might prove the final straw, with the doping scandal reaching its direst moment in the exclision of a number of riders along the way, and of the winner at the end. Am I wrong to approach this year's event with trust in the efforts that have been made to clean things up? I was wrong, certainly, to judge from the first three stages, to fear that the race would be less exciting with several of the major teams--and most of the familiar champions--banned from participation. Despite bad weather, the racing has been fine, the contest hard-fought, the results surprising.
I'll keep watching, then, in the hope that no major scandal will disrupt the proceedings this year, and that the race continues to hold challenges and surprises. I might even mention it, now and then, in the pages of The Buddha Diaries. Who knows...? (Please don't tell me who won Tuesday's time trials. I won't get around to watching until later in the day!)