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oneradtec 06-13-04 06:28 PM

The Box
 
I was rummaging through an old condemned and deserted house the other day when I came across a stack of old newspapers in the corner of one of the rooms. I curiously proceeded to pick up a few of them and flip through the frail yellowing pages.

I took an acute interest in a sports page from 1987. I noted that the page was from July, 1987. July, July, July I thought. What is great in sports come each July I asked? Well the cyclist in me stood up and raised it's hand....."Pick me! Pick me!" he said...unable to maintain his bucking excitement. "Why of course...it's the Tour de France!" I thought.

I proceeded to flip through those pages looking for any news from the tour that year. I had just about lost all hope when I spotted 'the box' sitting anonymously there on the very last page. It was a tiny box that offered the previous day's stage results and a brief rundown of the overall general classification. I took note of some recognizable names in 'the box'...names that have long since retired from the sport yet remain an indelible part of cycling's colorful history.

I saw there in 'the box' names such as Pedro Delgado, Stephen Roche, Davis Phinney and Sean Kelly among other names. Right here in this little box was a snapshot of that sunny July day at the finish line of a crucial stage of the 1987 Tour de France. I could literally see the rainbow of colorful jerseys and bikes through the black and white text. You had to use a little imagination when viewing 'the box' you see.

It was obvious to me that to most people this was just a pile of junk best suited for the land fill...but I have good reason to have a sentimental attachment to these little boxes. I took a liking to cycling back in the late 80's. At that time there was no internet or OLN TV. It was difficult to find any signifigant coverage of the Tour de France. Today we can all log onto the net and get the results of a stage just minutes after its completion. We can even watch it live on OLN TV. But in the late 80's...well things were different back then. I followed professional cycling mainly through magazines. I can remember reading those magazines cover to cover....many times over. Conversely, today in the modern era, I tend to give the mags a once over and then relegate them to a basket next to the toilet. Yes I have come to be spoiled by the net and TV. Now I have 'cycling on demand!

But I will say..there was a time when those mags were like gold to me...and those boxes in the back of the sports page were my only connection to the 'mystical' Tour de France. I can remember getting out of bed on those July mornings..and the first thing I wanted to do was get a coffee and a copy of the morning sports page. I was like a child on christmas day. Nothing went better with my hot java than those little boxes. I can remember rooting for Greg Lemond through 'the box'...and Andy Hampsten too. Claudio Chiappucci became a favorite of mine through the little boxes.

Today we have so much more access to the sport than we have ever had before...and I think it's something that most of us do not completely appreciate. Perhaps it's only human that we just take it all for granted. That said...I believe that it was just as much fun back in the days of my magazines and little boxes. I just so happen to miss 'the box'! Interesting indeed that a stack of junk newspaper would bring me to properly appreciate just how connected we are tour our chosen sport these days...inspite of that big ocean that lies between us and Europe.

Laggard 06-13-04 07:50 PM

Very nice.

A few of us can remember that time. I got into racing right before the U.S. press really hit on Greg LeMond as a story worthy of some nightly mention and a few feet of video. I can remember going to work and learning of what happened the day before only when I opened the sports section. Usually it was second page, tucked in there between Indian cricket scores and the final results of the world amateur swim meet in New Zealand.

Only when I started getting Velo news did I start to learn the stories behind the boxes.


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