What a world we live in with regards to professional sports! The 21st century has brought us some great moments in sports but sadly the dominating theme in many sports has been Steroids or Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s). As a sports fanatic, this saddens me greatly. Not because the athletes are cheating. I really don’t care to be honest, and I will explain why, but because it ruins the essence of professional sports. It takes away the fun of what professional sports always was-a diversion from your everyday life.
Professional sports have always been an influential part of my life. When I was a kid, I looked up to professional athletes because they did what I loved to do at the highest levels. I never looked to them as moral authorities or as people I wanted to base my beliefs or the way I lived my life around. I admired their skills and I wanted to play like them.
As you get older, you realize professional athletes are just regular people. Now I have friends that play professional baseball, football and basketball. They make mistakes just like you do. In fact, they probably make more mistakes because there is much more available to them. To me, this humanizes them, certainly more than money or fame ever could.
I don’t care if a player cheats on his wife or gets arrested for whatever or even uses steroids or PED’s, I really don’t. What they do in their own lives is their business. They are athletes, not saints. To look at them any other way is stupid.
I know people are saying that kids look up to and worship professional athletes. I get that to an extent. I was a kid once too and I still watch sports and love it as much as I did when I was a kid. My whole thing with that is that parents have to influence and manage children’s perceptions of athletes and other public figures just like they do any other person involved in their child’s life.
In 2013, where 60% of marriages end in divorce; there are mass shootings seemingly every month or so; and our celebrities, actors, musicians and athletes seem to let us down spectacularly at all times-parents need to be vigilant with their kids. Let’s face it, the Internet, 24-hour media and social networks have forever changed the way we view the world and how things are perceived.
In the old days, meaning before the Internet and social media, bad things that athletes did were usually reported and mentioned. However, you were limited to the morning paper or the 6 o’clock news to hear about it and like most things-eventually it just went away. Nowadays, everything is in your face 24 hours a day. Everyone has an opinion; which is great in some ways. But these same fickle people who build up athletes when they perform well on the field or court then are relentless in tearing them down as soon as they have one misstep.
It makes me sick to be honest. Social media and the 24-hour news media have turned life into a circus in many ways. We feel obligated and obliged to have news stories available 24/7. We judge without proof and we vilify anyone who does anything remotely controversial.
I am not saying that steroids and PED’s are good or that we should allow them, I am simply saying that I don’t care if professional athletes take them. I really don’t. The way I view sports is as entertainment-a way to escape the pressures and realities of real life. If these professional athletes want to take steroids, risk getting caught and inflate their numbers…so be it. I don’t care because it is a better product for me to watch.
I am a sports purist and of course I would prefer that PED’s weren’t around but the reality is that they are. The truth is they have been around in different forms for decades, it’s just now we talk constantly about it and there are better drugs and better tests. We must accept it, get over it and move on.
I applaud Major League Baseball for the way they have instituted HGH testing and the hardest testing for other PED’s outside of the Olympics. Sure they failed miserably during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but is there anyone who watched baseball during that time that didn’t love watching the product on the field. Whether you liked or hated Barry Bonds; was there any denying how amazing he was to watch at his height-even if it was PED aided? No.
I have to say that the thing that irritates me the most is how self-righteous people get over this issue of PED’s. The public and worse, the media, want to vilify and demonize these guys for using PED’s or doing anything “morally bad”. Who are people to judge? Is using PED’s to better your job performance as bad as selling heroin to kids, being a child molester or a rapist? No!
People and the media use terms like “cheating the sport” and “setting a bad example for kids”. Give me a break. The media should look at themselves in the mirror and see who is really the driving force behind these issues.
The media puts undue pressure on these guys to perform at the highest levels at all times. The pressure cooker that is our society has to be tough to deal with. So I don’t blame athletes for using PED’s. If I could take a pill or a shot to be better at my job and make a ton more money, I would do it in a heartbeat. So would you-be honest.
I don’t even want to hear anything else about it because until you are in that position; there is all this immense pressure upon you; and you have the ability to provide for generations of your family-you don’t know. We can all sit on our moral high horse and say we would never, but you’re lying to yourself and you’re being disingenuous, self righteous and judgmental. Get over yourselves.
I write this story, in the wake of the Lance Armstrong fallout, not as someone who cares specifically about him or cycling because I don’t. (I think he is a pig who ruthlessly tried to intimidate others and deserves what he gets but I don’t hate him for cheating) I write this as a sports fan-a true fan who lives and breathes sports. I write this as someone who wants to simply enjoy sports again and not be torn and burdened by PED talk. I know they are doing it…I simply don’t care. It doesn’t affect my life, my health or that of my family and friends. Is it really that bad?
To put this into perspective, Charlie Sheen has admittedly and almost jokingly slept with thousands of prostitutes and used copious amounts of drugs and done other things I am sure that most people find morally reprehensible. Hell, he even admitted using steroids while filming Major League 20+ years ago. His punishment, he is the highest paid actor on television and his fame has never been higher.
Don’t even get me started on some of these other idiots who have gotten famous and unfathomably rich as a result of sex tapes and other ridiculous things. Are these not as bad as steroids or way worse? Come on…sports is no longer sacred. Let’s all wake up and smell what’s really going on here so maybe we can all actually enjoy sports again.