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this chaps my A**(36 posts)

this chaps my A**grandemamou
Jul 31, 2001 1:46 PM
Check out this article from the birmingham post herald. You have to page down a little to find the article by Ben Smith.

In a world of athletes committing rape murder and dealing drugs we finaly have a positive story and someone wants to tear it down.

I found it extremely offensive. If he wanted to crticize Lance for say; being arrogant, not winning other major stage races or doping fine state your case. This is asinine. He makes the case for "the ugly American" If you would like to contact his editor you can email him with your thoughts at
Ben Cook sounds like an extra in 'Deliverance' [nm]Leroy L
Jul 31, 2001 2:24 PM
Ben Cook: Reason #1,823 why I would never live in the South (NM)sidley
Aug 1, 2001 6:14 AM
Winter: reason # 1 that I moved from the North.DCW
Aug 1, 2001 2:41 PM
Now in truly lovely Macon, Georgia, where I ride nearly every day of the year on quiet, smooth roads, with native Georgians and a boatlaod of other Yankee transplants. It's also a nice respite from the bigotry of the North, but that's another story. (By the way, as another post indicates, those of us who wrote Mr. Cook's editor have received an email indicating the the "Back Row Center" is the humor portion of his sports page.)
I cant believe this guy!ALLEN phx.
Jul 31, 2001 2:29 PM
"pedaling a bicycle cant compare with hitting a baseball, golfball, shooting a three pointer, or throwing a touchdown pass."

"but just how athletic is it to pedal a bicycle?"

These are the quotes that really bother me. It just shows how much this guy even knows about & baseball are just as physically demanding as a game of chess.

This really pisses me off.
Nothing newKerry Irons
Jul 31, 2001 5:05 PM
When Greg Lemond was named Sports Illustrated's athlete of the year back in '89, there were similar comments from the "ball sports writers" all over the US. The gist was that any fool could ride a bike, but Lemond would be crushed like a bug in the NFL (or similar nonsense). These guys have a lot of guts to call themselves "sports writers".
If ignorance was tornado head
Jul 31, 2001 2:36 PM
he'd be living in the Garden of Eden.

I say we do this; Flood his mailbox, as well as the Post Herald itself.

I'm not one to go to extremes, but in this case I'm willing to make an exception.
here's what i wrote to the editor in response - - -liv2padl
Jul 31, 2001 2:59 PM
Frankly, if i were you, i'd be embarrassed as hell to have Ben Cook writing for my newspaper. His article on Lance Armstrong shows complete ignorance of the sport of cycling and an intellect rivalled only by garden tools. Mr. Cook evidently feels that the cyclist pales in comparison to the baseball player. The teamwork, strategy, conditioning and endurance required for a cyclist to win the Tour de France certainly exceeds that of any baseball player who for the most part, stands around in the field watching the grass grow or sit's around on benches protected from the weather, chewing tobacco and spitting alot -- and then perhaps once every 4th inning is required to exert some feat of athleticism. Many baseball players could fairly be described as 'chubby'. Cyclists riding the "Tour" on the other hand, are required to be at their best everyday for two weeks straight riding over a hundred miles a day in rain, wind, bitter cold or temperatures in the 90's -- up some of the steepest mountains France has built roads to ascend, often averaging over 30 miles an hour. I'm certain Mr. Cook could throw a ball or even catch one. I'd like to see him ride a bike a paultry fifty miles at even an "old ladies" pace of 18 miles an hour. I'd have the paramedics ready should he try. In summary, your Mr. Cook should spend more time researching the subject he writes so witlessly about. He has little grasp of the facts and even less grasp of what sport is all about.

Dan Colodney
great, but next time...ET at home
Jul 31, 2001 3:45 PM
please run a spell and grammar check before submitting your letter so it will carry more weight. I'm serious.
great, but next time...jtolleson
Jul 31, 2001 4:50 PM
and debate the issue rather than attack the author. Your reference to "teamwork" at the TdF is lost on anyone that doesn't understand bike racing.
how easy to Criticize - - -liv2padl
Aug 1, 2001 3:21 AM
while you stand around with your hands in your pockets and watch others participate. show me a misspelled word in my text .. I proofed it pretty well I thought.

as for debating the issue ... a debate takes more than one person on either side of the issue. in this context, there's only me since I don't expect any feedback from Mr. Cook. moreover, debate would take a lot of words and would therefor, be less likely to be read by the editor.

i rather thought my "attack" was succinct and to the point. your attack of me however was cowardly since you have put forth no contribution.

now go ride your bike.
how easy to Criticize - - -Cliff Oates
Aug 1, 2001 3:55 AM

i'd should be I'd
rivalled s/b rivaled
sit's s/b sits
alot s/b a lot
paultry s/b paltry

Those are the spelling errors highlighted in my word processor when I copied and pasted your post into it. I'll leave the grammar critique for the other fellow.

To be honest with you, the sportwriter wants mail. Even negative mail. It shows that people are reading his words and that he's doing his part in selling papers. Imagine his glee at receiving email from all over the country. If you want to hurt the guy, don't send him mail. Let his words sail out into a sea of silence.
no need to be so pricklyjtolleson
Aug 1, 2001 6:24 AM
or to continue the tradition of attacking the person instead of the idea. I think that attacking whether the writer can ride like Lance Armstrong was not the most productive way to make your point.

Sorry you took such offense.

plus you need to get your facts straightIDIOT
Aug 2, 2001 5:32 AM
the tdf is 3 weeks long, not 2
dont call me an old lady.....n,m.AD14
Jul 31, 2001 5:12 PM
re: this chaps my A**Cliff Oates
Jul 31, 2001 3:06 PM
Looking on the bright side, if this guy had any real talent as a sportswriter, he probably wouldn't be working as a columnist in Alabama.

Yes, the attitude is offensive and the guy is an idiot. It probably sells papers down where kids ride bikes and Nascar is king.
re: this chaps my A**look271
Jul 31, 2001 3:17 PM
Thanks for the link. I found that piece of rubbish in my e-mail the other day and wondered where it came from. The fact that it came from an Alabama newspaper is not really a surprise. (I"m shocked that he even tried to diss Nascar even a little bit:we won't have to worry about him. Some good old boy probably has him in the cross hairs of his hunting rifle right now........)
Here's my response to Post-HeraldNYrider
Jul 31, 2001 3:39 PM
It's so nice that you can hire people such as Ben Cook who are familiar with the word alliteration and can come up with such clever wordplays that in someone's mind (maybe the managing editor's?) makes him a legitimate "sports journalist". However, his little ditty on the Tour de France makes no sense (logically) and has no basis (logically) and shows a complete disdain for...well, for anything in general. Here he is making generalizations and sounding like a, that's too complimentary - like a hillbilly who is (logically) unfamiliar with the words "American" and "patriotic" and "deservedness". He is as un-American as un-American can get. Here he is stepping on a race he knows nothing about, stepping on as great a sports hero we've had in this country for a long time (or maybe Mr. Cook would like to nominate one of the many overpaid, drug-riddled, rape-cultured baseball players instead who possess more skill?) Furthermore, I'm guessing that Mr. Cook has (maybe?) at some point in his life pedaled a bicycle. And so he finds it easy to travel at an average speed of 20 m.p.h up a 45 degree road for three miles while squeezed in between 100 other riders?

Nonetheless, I'm sure that in subsequent articles Mr. Cook can find the courage and stamina within himself (look deep, Mr. Cook!) to click on a web site, or click on the remote, or take a few minutes and do a sad little bit of research on what he's writing about. He does the reading public in general a disservice if he doesn't (but, hey, maybe that's what he wants to do!)

Unfortunately, I can understand how Mr. Cook arrives at his conclusions and writing style and viewpoint in general. He's from the school of talk loud/talk brash/be heard and clings to this theory as gospel - a theory that will eventually send sports journalism into a void where the athletes no longer matter just what's said about them. Too bad that he's taking down a great American hero with him. It saddens me that people read this and (probably) believe it. I know that somewhere, down deep, he knows he's made a mistake (oh Lord, I hope) because he's been involved in competitive sports at some point in his life (althought it wouldn't be surprising if he hadn't) and respects that (whichever sport, however inane to his closed world) it's not easy to be a champion athlete. Even if it is in a foreign country pedaling a bicycle up and down a bunch of mountains.
re: this chaps my A**Lone Gunman
Jul 31, 2001 3:48 PM
That dickweed was probable told to write something controversial to sell newspapers or else... I guess the phrase feed the troll applies.
My Resonse:MeDotOrg
Jul 31, 2001 5:45 PM
Letters to the Editor:

en Cook's commentary on Lance Armstrong says, in part:

"Let's face it. If the guy had not beaten cancer, very few people in the United States would care that Armstrong can ride his little bicycle all over France faster than a bunch of guys with funny names and even funnier outfits."

Apart from my curiosity as to why Mr. Cook characterizes the bicycle ridden by Mr. Armstrong as "little", I wonder why Mr. Cook thinks Europeans names are "funny". I also wonder whether Mr. Cook remembers Greg Lemond, the first American to win the Tour de France 3 times. If Mr. Cook would bother to watch (let alone understand) the Tour, he might actually observed that Armstrong's ride in Stage 10, Aix-Les-Bains to L'Alpe d'Huez, was a brilliant tactical and technical achievement.

Mr. Cook says that "pedaling a bicycle can't compare with hitting a baseball, a golf ball, shooting a three-pointer or throwing a touchdown pass." By that logic, I would assume that runners are not considered athletes either. And how 'bout those Olympics, huh? How 'bout all those funny names?

Thank God the world is bigger than the mind of Ben Cook.
My Resonse:mr tornado head
Jul 31, 2001 6:20 PM
I won't quote my response, because it's pretty much preaching to the choir here, but I'm glad to see we can reply to him without stooping to his level.

Go team.
I emailed his editorsclub
Jul 31, 2001 6:22 PM
suggesting they send the idiot to the OTC in Springs to see how his VO2, resting pulse, and work output compares. Or if they're too cheap for that, to at least force him to hook up with the local road club and go for a ride, see how he compares athletically to some old grandma or grandpa cyclist who will drop him like a fat, stupid, redneck rock. Only I didn't call him all that in the email, just ill-informed and glaringly ignorant. If enough folks write the sports editor, and the editor of the paper, suggesting he get his cum-uppance on the seat of a bicycle, maybe they'll make him ride one for a story, just to find out it's not as easy as he thinks. With a little luck, maybe Bubba will run him over with a 4x4.
I emailed his editorscapnjim01
Jul 31, 2001 6:42 PM
if you e-mail his editor then he knows that the guy is a least getting a response from some one. e-mail the companies who advertise in the newspaper and tell them if he continues to write rubbish you will never buy their products again. money talks b.s. walks.
I responded with this... to Mr. COOK...(poss double post) :-0g-money
Jul 31, 2001 9:11 PM

Your article on Lance Armstrong was at best, pathetic. Do you ride a bike at more than just a leisurely pace? Can you even ride one? As a mountain bike racer and road racing fan, I can't believe you could actually print an article stating there is no athleticism involved in this sport. Part of "athleticism" is, in fact, conditioning. Not to mention bike handling skill, which takes considerable "athleticism". Obviously, from your uneducated point of view, riding a bike at 50-60 miles an hour down a winding road takes no skill what-so-ever. Try it... I'll personally scrape your hide off of the road. Just like "nascar" there are things such as apexes (do you even know that term?) as well as other control related aspects of bike handling that are as finely tuned as any golf swing, bat swing, slapshot, or other skill related "sport". The "simple" pedal stroke is one of the most studied "strokes" in all of sports. Check it out.

In the future it may be a thought to further your knowledge base on a given sport before you ad-hoc comment. If nothing else, it will leave you looking much less clueless and perhaps alot less like a typical American bumpkin', sitin' 'round drinkin' beer, watchin' Nascar and couch potato quarterbackin. YE-HA...

BTW I'm a huge F-1 fan... you gonna tell me that these guys are a bunch of euro-sissies, with no "athleticism" Heck, ain't no Nascar...

Geof Suits
My response to Ol' Ben sent to the editorLive Steam
Aug 1, 2001 4:33 AM
I'd like to know what Ben Cook knows about athleticism? I'd also like to know what Ben Cook knows about professional cycling? Why you would have an ill informed person such as he on your staff is dumbfounding. I am an avid golfer, but hitting a golf ball takes far less athleticism at any level, than riding a bicycle does at a local club level. Why don't we get Ben Cook out on the road on a bike to see how athletic he is and how easy pedaling , let's say, 125 miles of extremely hilly terrain is for him. Heck, why don't we just make it say 40 miles of flat roads. I doubt his fat butt could handle keeping up with any of your local club racers. Before you publish nonsense trashing an American hero or a highly popular sport participated in by millions, I would suggest you first read it. After all, isn't that what an editor is supposed to do?
Here's the letter I sent...MikeC
Aug 1, 2001 5:40 AM
To the Editor:

I'm sure that you've received dozens of messages from outraged cyclists seeking Ben Cook's hide for his dismissal of Lance Armstrong's athleticism, while poking a little fun at cycling as a sport.
There's no question that part of a sports columnist's job is to spur dialogue and stir the pot a little. However, with a sport as underexposed as cycling, your core audience is unlikely to have enough background to enter the debate, and is likely to accept Mr. Cook's opinion as gospel. And that's a problem.
If Mr. Cook can dismiss Lance Armstrong as an "athlete," as opposed to just being a superbly-conditioned ordinary human being, we obviously have to exclude several other sports. Just about all track and field events would be thrown out, as "running" is no more "athletic" than cycling, and I'm not so sure about jumping or throwing, either. Swimming's gone, and I suppose we'll have to dump most football positions, too. In fact, figure skaters are probably as close to "real" athletes as Mr. Cook will allow.
One good thing I'm sure Mr. Cook's article did, however, was send people scurrying for their dictionaries. Webster defines athlete as follows:
"Etymology: Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athletes, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest
Date: 15th century
: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina"
What's interesting in this definition is that it totally ignores the issue of athletic "talent," and instead focuses on training and skill. That's particularly relevant in the case of Lance Armstrong. He, along with most other experts, has acclaimed German cyclist Jan Ullrich as the most talented rider active today. But Jan Ullrich finished second to Lance Armstrong in this year's Tour de France, as he also did in 2000.
It seems that in cycling, athleticism (as per Webster) trumps talent. And that should be cause for celebration among the millions of Americans who participate in sports, instead of just watching them.
This is the only letter they might print!mr_spin
Aug 1, 2001 7:12 AM
Well written, with excellent rebuttal points, and the only one that didn't insult Mr. Cook! I'd be interested to see if they actually do print this on their "Letters" page.
Agreed, but....g-money
Aug 1, 2001 7:53 AM
There are times when a bit of creative jab throwing drives home a point. The issue of getting a letter printed is not the drive and desire of most of these responses. I believe it's a direct throw-back to being so blatantly insulted and demeaned. Although the article was not directly aimed at us, it certainly hit home for those of us that share this great sport. Thus illiciting a scathing response.
THE Ben Cook!?nova
Aug 1, 2001 6:59 AM
I did a search on "Ben Cook Sports Writer" and came up with a few hits. Seems he is a sports radio commentator as well. Interestingly, I seem to have found a photo of Mr. Cook. He clearly isn't 'conditioned', but I have no doubt that he is athletic by his definition of the term. If you've ever watched The Simpsons, you'd know that Homer is an elite athlete in his own mind. Coincidence? I think not!

I bet Ben can drive a truck, shoot possum, and eat pork products like nobody's business!
The reason he IS a sports writer is because....peloton
Aug 1, 2001 8:12 AM
he couldn't hack it in sports himself. So now he gets to sit back and be a cynic to all the people that he couldn't hang with.

Sports writer= doesn't know enough about sports to coach

How seriously can you take a guy like that?
Nice hairpiece, Ben. (nm)E3
Aug 1, 2001 12:49 PM
Another message board:nova
Aug 1, 2001 7:05 AM
Ok, I feel better now :-)
Aug 1, 2001 8:38 AM
tongue in cheek stylegabankr
Aug 1, 2001 12:15 PM
I don't think this article is what it appears to be at all. The column it appeared in (Back Row Central) is a sometimes satirical, sometimes comical, sometimes scathing opinion column written by different writers each week. Anyone not familiar with BRC or Ben Cook in general likely would come away with the wrong idea at first glance. I used to listen to his radio show on B'ham radio and always found his opinions to be witty and well grounded. This column is so deliberately outrageous I don't see how anyone couldn't see through it. My take on the article is that he is taking a round about way to confront those sports fans who think cycling and other olympic type sports aren't newsworthy and should be pushed out of the newspaper. With the nascar remark I think he is in effect confronting some of the readers with the fact that there are millions of other passionate sports fans don't give a rip about nascar, Bamer football or whatever, and while some of his audience may not think cycling is newsworthy plenty of people do. Please don't be so quick to incriminate Mr. Cook without knowing a little about the context in which this article was written. Some of the personal attacks and insinuations about his audience posted here truly are disgusting.
I like guys like Ben Cook...DINOSAUR
Aug 1, 2001 3:10 PM
Ben Cook is probably a guy who sits at a desk all day long, has high blood pressure, and is obese. He probably gets irritated when he is driving his car and has to slow for ten seconds because of some slim, tan looking dude decked out in lycra cranking down the road. Ben Cook belongs behind a desk where he can author meaningless articles on subjects that he knows absolutely nothing about. Face it, more guys like Ben Cook, means more open roads for cyclist. Perhaps this is the same journalist who wrote a similar article last year regarding cycling, or was it two years ago? I think someone dared him to show up at designated time and place, and offered to furnish him a bicycle so he could find out for himself if riding a bike took any type of athletic skill. How did you guess that he declined the offer?

Actually I feel sorry for Ben Cook, he will never experience the full circle of life, the body is the temple of the spirit. He will never know what he is missing.....
The letter I sent and the editor's replyLive Steam
Aug 1, 2001 8:46 PM
Hi Mr. Willis,
Thanks for your reply. The article in question was posted on a cycling specific site by, I assume, one of your local readers, though he did provide a link to the online version of it, so I am not exactly sure how he came to read it. With this in mind, it wasn't readily apparent that the writer intended it to be tongue in cheek as you described. I do understand that without knowing the context you provided in this response, many of us that are cycling enthusiasts would understandably misinterpret the intent of the article. I hope then, that you can understand our harsh response to it also. Please accept my apologies. I would like to post your response on that same board if you would allow. It would help to rebuild the goodwill that your publication, I am sure, desires.
Kind regards,
Bill Giglio

-----Original Message-----
From: Willis, Jim []
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 1:53 PM
To: 'wgiglio'
Subject: RE: Ben Cook is an ignoramus!

Mr. Giglio:

Thanks for taking the time to let me know your reaction to the piece written
by Ben Cook for the Birmingham Post-Herald concerning Lance Armstrong and
the Tour de France.

It appears that many people - particularly readers who are not familiar with
our Sports section's Back Row column - have taken this piece as if it were a
news story. Actually, Back Row is a regular feature in the newspaper where
hyperbole and satire are often used to poke fun at ourselves for
occasionally taking sports too seriously.

This particular Back Row piece, although I would not argue that it was
particularly well done, was an attempt to spoof the notion that the only
sport we Southerners understand and appreciate is NASCAR racing. Your
reaction and that of others - particularly those who have seen it in a
context where it has been represented as the newspaper's news coverage of
the Tour de France - reminds us that we need to do a better job of labeling
this feature so that is isn't so easy to take out of context.

If the Birmingham Post-Herald had an anti-Lance Armstrong attitude, we would
not have carried a piece on our editorial page praising the courage and
stamina of Armstrong, nor would we have carried news stories and pictures on
the outcome of the Tour de France.

If the Birmingham Post-Herald had an anti-bicycling attitude, we would not
have sent one of our staff members to document in words and pictures the
ride of 150 bicyclists across the state for six consecutive days last year
with many of those stories and pictures being used on Page one.

Nevertheless, perception is reality. And we always try to be fair to
readers - even those in areas where the newspaper does not circulate. So we
have published a representative selection of your letters and e-mails in the
newspaper today, giving you a chance to voice your reactions and opinions.
They run alongside Ben Cook's response to some of your questions and

And we'll continue to run pieces on bicycling - as a sport and as a pastime
- despite the perception that Bubba prefers stock car racing.

Jim Willis

> ----------
> From: wgiglio[]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 7:33 AM
> To:
> Subject: Ben Cook is an ignoramus!
> I'd like to know what Ben Cook knows about athleticism? I'd also like to
> know what Ben Cook knows about professional cycling? Why you would have
> an ill informed person such as he on your staff is dumbfounding. I am an
> avid golfer, but hitting a golf ball takes far less athleticism at any
> level, than riding a bicycle does at a local club level. Why don't we get
> Ben Cook out on the road on a bike to see how athletic he is and how easy
> pedaling , let's say, 125 miles of extremely hilly terrain is for him.
> Heck, why don't we just make it say 40 miles of flat roads. I