Bits & Pieces: Armstrong appearance a positive for a good cause

As soon as I heard that Lance Armstrong was coming to Columbia to participate in the REV3 Half Full Triathlon Oct. 7, my first thought was, "Oh, oh, we should get some serious noise about this one."

And, while there was a reaction, the results were a mixed bag. Some people feel that having him here enhances the purpose of the event, which is to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Others strongly feel that since Armstrong has been legally banned from competition by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, he should not participate.

My feelings will obviously cause some kickback, but I think that Lance Armstrong's relationship with the Ulman Cancer Fund has been long and strong and I see nothing wrong with his appearance to raise funds for the UCF.

There is absolutely no way that the Ulman Cancer Fund should disassociate itself from a man who is one of its largest contributors, by refusing to let him appear. (He will be doing the half marathon, which includes a 56-mile bike ride.)

I look at this as a fundraiser for cancer. The mission of the UCF is to support, educate and connect young adults and their loved ones affected by cancer. UCF has survivors/loved ones networks, support groups, patient navigation programs and it awards college scholarships to those affected by cancer.

Lance Armstrong himself is a cancer survivor and he intends to participate with other cancer survivors. If people are offended by his presence, then simply find another race. That's OK. We all have a right to our opinions.

Because of Armstrong's participation, US Triathlon has unsanctioned the Half Full. Some who feel that sanctioning is important may choose not to participate. I respect their opinion.

However, with Lance Armstrong present, I expect the Half Full to draw a large contingent of participants and those who just want to watch. Time to move on.

A new media outlet

When Diane Schumacher came to Howard Community College in 1999, her goal was to improve the school's athletic program. She has certainly done that. Her latest achievement is the creation of Dragon Sports Radio, which can be heard on Tuesdays from noon-1 p.m., Fridays from 8-9 a.m. and Sundays from 6-7 p.m.

Louis Garcia is the producer, students Matt Trudel and Lauren Wright are the engineers and Matt Stovall is the host. If this radio venture is as good as the school's sports television program, then the student athletes will be the big beneficiaries.

Where will the Schu go next? Who knows. I have observed the amazing progress that the school's athletic program has made over the past 10 years and the credit must go to Diane and the school's administrators who have bought into her ideas.

Break out the orange

On Sept. 27, the Wilde Lake and Marriotts Ridge girls soccer teams will be decked out in orange.

"Both teams will be warming up in orange. We're asking people to wear orange and there will be orange T-shirts for sale," said Davia Procida, Wilde Lake's coach. The game, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Wilde Lake, will be a fundraiser for the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Foundation. Orange is the foundation's color.

There is a larger story here. Davia's dad, Dave Procida, former Wilde Lake girls soccer coach and now his daughter's assistant, has been diagnosed with this type of leukemia. He says he now feels great.

"He doesn't want this to be about him," Davia said, "but to me it is about him. He has been a role model for me and it has been a blessing to coach with him."

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