Armchair QB'ing The Steroids Problem
I went to the Patriots/ Jets game this weekend. Great freezing game. But we got hot chocolates and stayed a little late to let the traffic push out before we set off back up here. I noticed over on the team bench for NE, it was littered with smelling salts and small vials of clear liquid. “Pure electrolytes.” I was told by a lady working security. Add the oxygen, helmet-heaters, cortisone shots, plus whatever else the NFL allows and it makes me wonder what’s the big deal with steroids? These athletes’ performance is already enhanced by a number of ingredients which give you an unnatural edge over someone just drinking Gatorade. It’s easy to see how athletes get mixed up with steroids in the world of sports, especially young athletes.
Just like with any illegal drug, young people see the culture that fuels drug use everywhere. Drugs cure everything, do everything. And steroids are just on card in that deck. Take this for pain. Have two for heartburn. Take this little blue one for virility. And use steroids to get stronger faster. Sports used to be considered an alternative to the madness of getting what you want from a quick fix. Sports taught that you have to work hard, day-in, day-out; and if you have the will and dedication you can achieve anything. All that has seemed to change, where it’s more about doing anything to win, even if it means sacrificing you body—the very instrument at the heart of every game.
In fact, it takes no stretch of the imagination to see how this at-all-costs mentality has profoundly infected our society even beyond sports. You can’t fault the NFL or baseball for abusing the admiration of our children from using steroids. We are primed to risk everything for their desires by our win-obsessed culture. Parents both work, both strung out on stress. And for what? To have two cars? A boat, a timeshare? More crap? So that somehow in our own little way, our life has a mantle to place our little victories. Meanwhile all the house around it crumbles, and the warmth of life escapes. Only until we come to terms with the desire to be winners and not people, will we really be able to handle the steroid problem. It does not stem from sports, it stems from our fear of being losers.
As I saw the Jets leaving the field, with another loss, it dawned on me: a game lost, just like one won, stays on the field when you leave. Think of all the charity work these guys do, think about the family struggle they must go through as pro athletes. That's where the greatest game is played, and success there is victory in its truest hue. Must we lose sight of that?