|So Mark McGwire took steroids...|
|Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:04|
Before I go any further let me correct myself, Mark McGwire took some performance enhancing drugs during his pro sports career. I heard on the news he admitted to using banned substances. I don't know for certain what he took and I'm not going to use the term steroid without knowing. And no, I'm not going to research and find out exactly what he took for one reason. I don't care! I don't care for a bunch of reasons.
First I'm not and have never been a Mark McGwire fan. Nothing against him personally. I only know of him because he was a major league record breaker/setter. I know of him because of the congressional hearing about substance abuse in pro baseball which apparently did no good. I couldn't even tell you who he played for. And again I'm not going to look it up because I don't care.
Second, I'm not a big baseball fan. Until about four seasons ago I didn't watch any baseball at all. I do consider myself a San Diego Padres fan and I do watch them on TV. But the only baseball I watch is Padres baseball. I can take it or leave it. It's not that big of a deal to me. And since Mark McGwire doesn't play for the Padres I , well, you know.
Reason number three- I don't think it's that big of a deal, anymore. When I was young I idolized professional bodybuilders. Arnold, Robbie Robinson, Mike and Ray Mentzer, Chris Dickerson, Danny Padilla, Ken Waller. I knew them all and was a huge fan. I was a fan before I learned of the steroid abuse and remained a fan after learning about the dark secret of pro bodybuilding(accepted steroid usage). The only impact it had on me was that it made me realize that I would never become a competitive bodybuilder since it involved using drugs. It did not stop me from performing bodybuilding workouts and training to improve my physique. I took and still take the positive aspects of the practice. Even now as it was then it seems to be accepted that bodybuilders take performance enhancing drugs, primarily anabolic steroids, but it is not okay for baseball players or football players. Why not? Their reasons are all the same. It's for the sport right? So who's being hurt? The fans? The team owners and investors? The few players (my opinion here) that are not juicing? Members of Congress? Little league players? Did Mark McGwire ruin any lives?
When I was younger my friends and I used to watch professional wrestling, back when WWE was WWF and Bruno Samartino was the champ. If you were to tell me back then that a great number of those entertainers were on steroids I wouldn't have believed it. Now I know better. I don't care but I know better. When I watch the Padres I can't help but wonder which players are taking something. Or are they all? And if they all are I personally don't have that big of a problem with it. As a matter of fact I now understand it. Thanks to the documentary Bigger Stronger Faster my opinion about performance enhancing drug use in sports has greatly changed. In the film Dr. Yesalis asked the question "If you had to take a drug with the known side effects of anabolic steroids to keep your job right now and support your family would you do it?" I know most people would easily say "No." But I think the answer may not be as easy if it was your dream job and it meant the difference between possibly losing your career and guaranteeing your career, being the best at it and making more cash in a month than you know what to do with. What if everyone else was doing it and getting away with it?
I think the biggest reason that I don't care about the fact that Mark McGwire took banned substances is because I don't concern myself with the lives of athletes. I admire what they do during competition, but when the game is over I realize they are just human beings like anyone else. Well paid, talented people capable of doing stupid things, capable of making mistakes and bad choices. I don't let their personal lives impact mine. I don't place athletes on a pedestal or hold them to higher standards. I don't view them as role models and I make sure that my kids are well aware of that.
What Mark McGwire did was wrong. He lied, he cheated and as a result he has probably let many people down. He may have even broke some laws. But in my opinion, just like the Tiger Woods scandals, I don't make it my business and I don't care. I am not saying that I condone the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs. I certainly don't think it is okay to lie, to cheat, or to break the law. Mr. McGwire obviously did some of these things, possibly all of them. As far as integrity I truly believe he's not the only one involved, and certainly not the only case. As long as there are rules there will always be cheaters. But as long as the team owners, managers, coaches, advertisers, sponsors, investors and the majority of fans are willing to look the other way the fact that he finally admitted to using what he did is nothing more than trivial at this point. I don't know if I'm the only person with this opinion about it's news worthiness. I'm sure there are many sports fans who strongly disagree with me. I just think that until we hear that athletes are being prosecuted for illegal drug use and/or possession like dealers and junkies on the streets there are more important things to make the news. For now we need to face the fact that substance abuse is a part of sports, professional and amateur. Frankly I think the chit chat about drug testing is just to appease some of the fans. Look at what happens when an athlete is caught. Until it is taken much more seriously why focus on this or any one athlete in particular? Why make it national headline news? The sports organizations need to take responsibility, to take charge and either get serious about stopping drug abuse or go the way of professional bodybuilding and professional wrestling- allow the athletes to use it and not make it an issue of concern. Or maybe they should take it a step further and bring it out in the open. Legalize a new category of drugs just for sports performance enhancement. Create two leagues, one natural and a new organization allowing drugs. Give amnesty to all athletes. Give them the choice of which league to play in. Let them come clean about what they have been using, let them keep using and keep everyone happy. Let the fans have the choice between watching the clean unadulterated league or the pharmacological enhanced league. The fans will get to see records broken every season. Competition will be fiercer than ever and just continue to grow every season. And there won't be any question about who's on something or not(until cheaters infiltrate the natural league!). And those who insist on worshiping professional athletes and using them for role models for themselves and their children will just have to come to grips with the fact that they use drugs.
Every day someone that is not famous ruins lives using substances far worse than steroids or performance enhancing drugs, and some legal drugs that you can buy at the supermarket or convenience store. They might make the local news for one day, but they impact the rest of dozens of lives. Another athlete took drugs and cheated. The only way it has affected me is by reinforcing my belief that the majority of pro athletes use drugs and gave me a topic to write about. I guess if that is the biggest news in the world everything is going great.