The last time I looked – aka the last time OLN posted Tour De France standings into the 20’s – Lance Armstrong was in 22nd place overall. Split screen to post script edited highlights of all the leaders piling up on wet skinny roads with no markings on alpine corners, Lance’s dirt covered face on the cobble stones and the debilitating first week of stages where 3 crashes in a single day showed us all a rare glimpse of humility watching the world’s finest literally scrape by. The Dalai Lamas say, “pride causes suffering”, but through the pain and the failure and the sometimes seemingly endless pause that follows we find the path back home to the things that matter most.
While the riders slept 8 or 10 hours into tomorrow – in European time – we loaded up the truck for the first community garage sale organized by the Whistler Rotary Club. My wife and my son and I have been sorting old toys, too small baby clothes and car seats, thinning out our closets and yes, even taking dents out of my ski and bike collection to add to the cause…our own cause. Pride…pride and a growing family and shrinking home found me sorting the pack I picked up from Ritchey Schley and my old custom fit Dana Design pack into the sale box along with the Raceface DH stem and the George Foreman Deluxe grill I wanted so badly and rarely used…sorry George, honestly, a guy can only eat so much bacon (and why the greasy plastic drip tray on the counter?) The extra bike, the extra skis, the extras T’s, jackets, pots and pans, votif candles we never light, extra helmets and so much more…bags of more that rarely see the light of day but we save in boxes and closets and corners and under beds. Go ahead and look, you do it too…don’t you? And so much more…pride.
Pride…some people have trouble taking money from others for things they no longer need. Do you take your bottles back for deposits or put them in the recycle bin like we do? Pride. There is so much pride in the world…which brings me back to Lance. I told my wife the other day I have found more respect for Lance this tour in all of his struggles than in all the seven seemless victories combined. He said on Twitter one day – the 3 crash day – something like, ‘the leaders had a great finish today, at least that’s what I heard’, and I laughed. I could see him sitting on the roadside on some errant turn out of sight taking a breath and shaking his head with a smile thinking, ‘I’m pretty sure this wasn’t part of the plan.’ Like finding the cancer he overcame or waiting for the doctors to figure out what is causing the pain in my chest. Well Lance, selling Ritchie’s pack wasn’t in my plan either but here we are.
The truth is I don’t know what we needed more, the space in our two bedroom family of four condo or the cash, but in the 5 or 6 hours in that parking lot my son found a cool NASCAR Lego with all the pieces, my wife picked up one of those little swivel mirrors for the bathroom that lets you see your face way closer than most men ever need to, my daughter played with her old toys as they sold and I bought a $10 sleeping bag from the nice couple next to us selling their extra stuff. I spent the day I would normally be working working with my family. I saw familiar faces and smiles and met some not so familiar who said, ‘aren’t you that guy with that shop?’, I found out who the Rotary people are and in the end, found more in less…like I found Lance in his final Tour De France.
The afternoon ended, the people packed their cars and trucks and in the perfect frame of less is more we sorted the remnants into bags and donated most of what we didn’t sell to the local Re-Use-It shop…and at bedtime my son pulled out one of the Berenstien Bears books my sister gave us, “The Berenstien Bears Count Their Blessings”.