Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Future Is Bleak

I watch The Daily Show With Jon Stewart religiously. In fact, I get paid to watch it every night by my employer (long story).

To my dismay, Stewart and the show have spent the past few nights dissing cycling with a vengeance. First they did a report on Lance Armstrong's win, where "reporter" Rob Corddry repeatedly made fun of the sport on the basis that nobody in America really cares. Sure, his jokes were hilarious, but only because they were sadly very true.

Then last night, Stewart interviewed sportscaster Bob Costas. When they weren't talking about Barry Bonds and steroids, they were both panning cycling. The usual themes of "I don't understand the rules" and "it's boring" came up, of course---and Costas even went so far as to compare cycling to "watching guys exercise". Ouch.

In a country that considers golf and auto racing to be sporting events, all of this is really no surprise, but I had hoped at least Stewart and his show would be a bit more enlightened than the average beer-swilling, moderately obese American sports fan. Maybe I was wrong. The show is still one of the best on TV, they're just not perfect.

I keep saying it, but now I really believe it. Cycling in mainstream America is dead with the retirement of Lance Armstrong. It will live on among those who know the true value of intense athletic training and competition and have respect for the long and majestic history of the sport, but like lacrosse and even soccer to a certain extent, it will not enjoy mainstream appeal. That's just how it goes.