Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Doping for Dummies

So, it seems like everyone is in an uproar about the concept of steroid use among baseballers. Well, I guess "everyone" is kind of an exaggeration, because quite frankly I could give a shit. I mean, let me get this straight: people are all up in arms and aghast because some athletes are using HGH, or MGH, or MPH, or whatever the fuck, to give them an edge in their competitive abilities. Um...DUH! Since when is it considered "bad form" to use a product to achieve a competitive edge?

Okay, let's look at it from a musical standpoint. Guy walks into an audition with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He's got a Yamaha violin. Chances are, he ain't gonna win. Maybe Anne-Sophie Mutter would win, but...well, maybe not. Yamaha violin gonna be fine for, y'know, the St. Johns public school orchestra, but the CSO? Fuhgettaboudit. Now: same guy walks into that audition packin' a Stradivarius. Just the APPEARANCE of an instrument like that somehow increases his chances of winning the audition, because...well, a guy who can afford a multi-million dollar axe, he's pretty well advertising that he takes his craft REALLY seriously. And, let's face it, that Strad is by and large gonna sound CIRCLES around any Yamaha on the planet. But...what does that violin really represent? A COMPETITIVE EDGE. One that's not available to most people simply because of the cost. It AIN'T democracy, folks; the rich guy can afford a better fiddle, can afford better lessons and conservatories...the rich guy is gonna win. (I guess technically that's TWO competitive edges...) Sure, natural talent is still a necessity: some senior from the aforementioned St. Johns orchestra, he ain't gonna win that audition even if he found a Strad in the dumpster. But, isn't that the same with baseball? I mean, we're not talking about doping ME up with 'roids and sending me off to the Yankees. We're still talking about world-class athletes; all they're doing is buying a tiny bit of competitive edge.

'Kay, here's another example: what about Lunesta, and all those other "sleep-aids?" Some schmuck works 70-80 hours a week in a totally high-stress job, eats like crap, smokes & never exercises...of COURSE that guy ain't gonna get to sleep at night! But, he sees 5 commercials an hour about how he can pop a little pill and get the full component of 7-8 hours of restful sleep at night, so that he can go back to Wall Street (or wherever) and continue kickin' ass the next morning. Um...isn't that a kind of competitive edge? By using a DRUG, no less! How come it's okay to push drugs every seven minutes on TV ("Just ask your doctor!"), but it's NOT okay to push drugs in the dugout?

See, I think this is a classic case of morality-based "do as I say, not as I do." We say "Oh, it's okay to take a drug to help you sleep, but it's NOT okay to take a drug to throw a ball really fast, because we want to hold our athletes to some sort of archaic standards of human achievement." We (as a society) make a moral decision that one form of drug is okay, the other is B-A-D, BAD! (Kudos to those of you who filled in with "Make your mom and daddy say!") Like, turn it around and see where we are:

"No, David, I'm afraid I can't give you a drug to help you sleep because frankly, if you can't get to sleep on your OWN, you represent a lower level of human achievement and therefore should be sentenced to a life of sleep dprivation."

"Gee, I'm sorry Steve, but if you can't lower your cholesterol on your own, I'm afraid you'll just have to suffer debilitating heart disease. See, that'll ultimately strengthen the gene pool for ALL humanity!"

It's ridiculous, right?!? We peddle drugs EVERYWHERE, but oop-oop-oop! Not in the LOCKER ROOOOMMM! Sex is the same way: we pooh-pooh sex all the time in this society, saying "Oh, no! YOU can't have sex, you're still a TEENAGER!" or "No, you can't have sex, because YOU'RE not MARRIED yet!" Then you look at (again) the telly, and sex is selling EVERYTHING! Shit, even the Detroit Auto Show had, like, bodacious babes slinking all around the cars. Uh...like, WHY?!? As if, I buy that there Ford F-150, I get a Victoria's Secret model in the passenger seat? Sheesh. As always with me, it's the same ol' disgust with hypocricy: say one thing, do sumthin' diff'rent. Bah. Fuck it. STEROIDS FOR ALL, that's what I say! THEN we'll see some REAL athleticism on the fields!


Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Simply unbelievable.

Steroids are simply a way of gaining an UNETHICAL advantage, and I personally think it sucks because these athletes are supposed role models for our children.

Personally, I think that steroids are equivalent to cheating. Period.

As far as the argument between the Strad and the Yamaha, give the kid with the Yamaha some speed and see if he can't practice more to become better.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

Didja hear about the guy who broke his strad? He fell down the stairs and landed on it. oooooops.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

nice post, i little off on the metaphor though.

Fer instance, let's say the rich athlete prospect shows up for tryouts with the best equipment? That would be a more fair analogy to the yamaha vs strad. The yamaha will probably still kick a walmart special.

Roids are roids, and i always prefered Charles Barkley's "i am not a role model" stance. Given more time to explain, he feels parents should be the role models not professional athletes.

i'm bothered a little by the institutional racism between the way Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are compared. Both have had touchy moments with media relations but for some reason Clemens seems to be getting a bit more freer of a pass.

Best idea....assume all professional athletes are on roids. It's huge bidness, millions of dollars and who would n't be tempted.

...wow this is long, sorry, to take so much space...

9:03 AM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

While I agree that parents need to be the ultimate role model, you don't hold a candle to Hannah Montana.

Point made.

1:02 PM  
Blogger sdb said...

Steroids are against the rules. A Stradivarius is not.

For me, it is that simple.

Do I think Congresspeople need to investigate? No. I would think they would have better things to do. But maybe they don't...

1:40 PM  
Blogger Animal said...

Yeah! Get people thinkin'! That's what it's all about.

I do feel like there's a lot of equivocating going on, though. Why is ONE advantage "against the rules" and another isn't? Who decides what the "rules" are? What about a world-class musician who suffers from crippling stage fright, and takes a drug to counter that? (And yes, that happens.)

And about equipment: I think it's already understood that a baseballer is going to have the "best" bat, the "best" glove, and the "best" ball. These things are within the price range of everyone who plays, so there's no comparable "equipment advantage" gain in sports.

9:25 AM  

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