Best of the Decade: Steroids

Most decades end with a “Best of” recap but every best of has a worst of that is rarely mentioned. Steroids has marred sports for a long time but it was not in the spotlight until mostly notably Mark McGwire was caught with a bottle of nutritional supplements. Unfortunately this bottle wasn’t your average Flintstones vitamins but instead one of the compounds was Androstendione. For those who are not familiar with this, it is later converted into testosterone once inside the body. As we all know, most athletes do it to get an edge and with that edge comes fame and fortune and who doesn’t want that? Even back in the days of the Olympics atheletes were doing whatever they could to get a “leg up” on the competition for the same reason. We can all say we do it for the love of the game but let’s be realistic here. You don’t train and become the best just for self gratification, maybe a small part of you does but the majority is for that big paycheck. This will not be the last discussion about steroids but this past decade we have seen it ruin legacy’s of past players and even worse future players.

Steroids has fueled a drive to be the best so much that we are starting to see it trickle down to the high school level. It may be a surprise to most of us, but I’m sure steroid use has always been there and only recently have we been exposed to it. Just because you don’t know its happening doesn’t mean its not. Not every high school athlete is going to do it because not every one wants to become a professional or doesn’t have the ability to. But if you are serious about it and have the given talent, I don’t think anyone can talk you out of it. Lets be clear here that I do not condone the use of any performance enhancing drugs on anyone at any age but the realization is that you know they are going to do it so why not get the facts out about it.

Baseball has probably gotten the most heat about steroids since it was the last major sport in this country to have a comprehensive drug policy. It was also a dying sport before the whole controversy came about. Yes I agree what McGwire did was wrong but how can you blame him for saving a sport that no one cares about anymore? America wasn’t the once slow paced country that baseball represented. Nowadays people want to see action be it from scoring or hard hitting. The common person doesn’t know anything about baseball other than a homerun and that is what they want to see. They don’t know that hitting a baseball at 90 mph with a bat may be the hardest thing to do in sports but they do know that it is instant gratification. With one swing you can win a game and cheer. Why cheer for the singles, defensive plays, good pitches or heck even a good strategic move by the manager? That is what America has become, we want everything now.

Unbeknownst to you, football has had a drug policy in place since the late 1980s. It makes more sense to connect the dots with football and steroids because the sport alone you need more athleticism to play. Football is about size and that’s just how it is. I know there are rules about going pro in the NFL from college but have you ever thought about why? It’s because physically and mentally you are not fully developed out of high school and you won’t be until you get some college days under your belt. There really hasn’t been much news regarding the NFL and steroid use. But is that because we give a pass to these guys because we enjoy watching them or do these players do everything by the book?

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