Saturday, August 05, 2006

Injecting Some Truthiness

Just how refreshing would this be: "Yes, I did take the performance enhancing drugs that helped to create the spectacle of my achievements on the field. I did it to make a better show for the spectators, and to boost my own self-esteem. I chose to do this because of my own personal priorities, not out of any sense of peer pressure. I believe that the only way I could compete and to win in my endeavor was to artificially stimulate my body's own natural chemistry. Time and science may later prove me wrong, but I expect that, given the choices I have made with my life and career, this will ultimately be the most satisfying path for me."
Floyd Landis is a cheater? Barry Bonds? Tom Cruise? Okay, maybe Tom didn't take steroids or testosterone. Maybe he just gets high on life. But the dilemma still remains: If the expectations for a given sport or profession continues to rise, won't the need for increased performance ramp up right alongside those expectations? Legalizing drugs - illegal drugs - always falls apart after you start to consider the impact of those drugs on the youngest or most naive users. This is profoundly true as well in the case of steroids. High school athletes injecting themselves with syringes in order to take their game to the next level seems ridiculous, but it happens. Is there anyone who still believes that drugs aren't just as prevalent in college sports as they are at the professional level?
What if we could agree on a three or four year grace period, during which all the records and competitions could be scaled back. Let everybody dry out first. Then let us all appreciate the magic of a single home run, instead of the seventy that we need now to be impressed. Take a moment to contemplate the challenge of riding a bike for two miles, then twenty more, up the side of a mountain. And maybe, just maybe, we can all be impressed by the character of our sports heroes again - the ones who don't need to talk to their lawyers before they comment about the big game.


haywagon said...

How about if Floyd Landis didn't actually take performance enhancing drugs, and the testing indicates the byproduct of something less sinister? What are we telling our children then? Play clean, and you can be a dolphin caught in the dragnet.

Other than the biological result, there's no obvious context for Landis having cheated; the testosterone found in his system has been easily detected for years, and he knew he was going out to win a stage after which he knew he'd be tested. Could he really be that stupid?

Anonymous said...

Then again, here we are spending how much on lab testing for a sport and the Bay Area teachers are getting how much of a raise next year?

Sport is what it is. Tuba players aren't being tested except for ACT/SAT and based on volume of our society, if various people, young and old, puruse performance enhancers then Darwin will prove correct and natural selection will produce the more laid back approach when the bloated sacks of protoplasm in Bond's brain finally erupt.

Robin said...

This is a problem of our culture, not just sports - we just notice it there because the players are public figures. How many ordinary people willingly sacrifice their health to performance-enhancing substances they hope will help them keep up with what they think the Joneses are able to accomplish?