It was quiet in Farmersville on Monday afternoon, but that was no different than any other day. Perhaps the slow moving tractor barreling down the tight, single-lane road toward the concrete bridge and Turtle Hill Road would have caused a traffic backup or at least a minor commotion had anyone else been around.
Instead, it was just another typical day in the Garden Spot. A lonely picnic table along the side of the road offered homegrown raspberries and tomatoes for sale, but there was no suggested price or even a container to stash the money. Three horses grazed in a meadow while the Conestoga Creek bubbled behind them. A rain storm loomed over the horizon, the dark clouds easy to see over the hills flush with still-growing corn. In a month those stalks will be too tall to see anything beyond the narrow road that snakes through the countryside.
The distant muffled rumble of thunder briefly breaks up the din of chirping birds, the bustling creek and the wind quaking against the corn. It was very quiet in Farmersville.
There was a neat white house just off the road with a homemade sign baring a passage from Proverbs explaining that all who follow the Lord will have peace provided for them. The message is so simple and perfect that it's hard to believe that anyone could find anything other than peace from such a lovely spot on the earth. There is no intrusion. No forces pushing against nature. No breaking against the peace.
"They will never get to the end of how much I can take," the kid who grew up in that tidy white house told the biggest sports conglomerate in the world on Monday. "I'm not happy that I'm the person who has to take this, but I would never allow myself to be treated this way and ever give up."
Could it be that a kid from Farmersville will continue to take the punishment from the government-funded bureaucracies so that they can prove its worthiness? Did the kid from Farmersville lose years from his prime and all of his money so the laboratories, corporations and government-funded bureaucracies can continue to put on shows like the Olympics without anyone questioning their integrity? Never mind that no court in this country would ever dream of hearing a second of the case against the kid from Farmersville. But in that other world, when there is money to be made off the backs of athletes, little things like justice don't matter much. How dare anyone question the integrity of our flawed drug tests, the Swiss-based Court for the Arbitration of Sport scolded in its ruling late Monday morning.
"I refuse to accept that the world works this way. I don't buy it," the kid from Farmersville told The Los Angeles Times.
But he's paying for it... And then some.
Back in Farmersville on Monday afternoon, a bike rider struggles against a hill. He adjusts his gears, stands in the saddle and pushes as hard as he can on the pedals. He nods as he passes the man driving the tractor rolling down the other side of the tiny road. He looks over the corn and sees the white house with the passage from Proverbs on a homemade sign in the front yard at the crest of the hill.
Beyond the house the rain storm draws closer.
More: Doping case against Tour de France winner Landis is upheld (Michael A. Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times) Landis may not race again, but he's not done fighting (Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN.com)