Lance Armstrong Drinking Game = Certain Death

07.7.2005 | 10:25 am

Last night I did some ironing. Usually, I can get about 10 days worth of ironing done in around an hour, but last night my wife was out, my kids were in bed, and I had a stage (stage 5, the one right after the TTT) of the Tour de France to watch. I figured I’d take care of ironing every iron-able thing in the house, and watch the entire stage. 
But this was no idle idle-TV-watching session. I had a plan: I would count, from pre-race show to podium ceremony, exactly how many times the announcers referred to Lance Armstrong.
I set myself some ground rules, in order to keep the count from being frivilous or exaggerated. I wanted this to be an honest count of how often Lance is mentioned. Here are the rules I worked with:
  • He could be referred to by name or by strong inference. Eg, “leader of the Discovery Team” is good enough. “Discovery Team” is not good enough. If in doubt, don’t count it.
  • Count one reference per paragraph. Eg, if Phil mentions Armstrong in one sentence and then mentions him in the next couple sentences, count only one reference. If, however, he references Armstrong in adjoining but distinct topics, that counts as two.
  • An interview with Lance counts as only one reference. It’s not fair to expect the interviewer or interviewee to not talk about anything but Lance in this circumstance.
  • Seeing the text “Lance Armstrong” on the screen does not count. He must be verbally referenced by an announcer. Seeing Lance himself does not count. This is because OLN only controls what we hear when watching the TdF, not what we see.

Can we agree that I set out to be conservative and honest in how often Lance was mentioned? Yes, of course we can.

Drumroll, Please
Using the above rules, I counted the announcers verbally referencing Lance Armstrong 162 times in stage 5. This was a flat stage — one that had nothing to do with him.

A couple of days ago I wrote a jokey little fake news story about Phil Liggett getting fired because he waited more than 40 seconds between Lance Armstrong mentions. Turns out my exaggeration was way less absurd than I thought. 162 mentions divided into 180 minutes of coverage = 1.1 minutes between Lance Armstrong mentions, on average.

And I was being kind — I was counting during my recording of the early-morning live stage, not the Extended-Coverage Primetime stage, where Al Trautwig and Bob Roll talk about him even more.

If there was a “Lance Armstrong TdF Drinking Game” (copyright 2005, Fat Cyclist Enterprises — all rights reserved), no human alive could make it concious to the end of the stage.

Hey, OLN, I’ve got a tip for you. If you want an audience for the Tour next year, you may want to consider talking about someone who’ll be riding in it then. Just a thought.

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