Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Juice

We all know what it is. Gear, Sauce, Gas, Roids. We, as a country, hear about steroids much more than we need to because of guys like Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and most recently, Lance Armstrong. So the media tells us that they are evil, but do we always need to believe what the media tells us?

That same media also wants you to believe that my pretty little pit bull Lexi is going to eat my nephew Drew...instead she waits patiently for food to fall off of his face onto the floor.

I have never taken steroids. Thus, I am far from the foremost expert on the subject. But I still (surprising to nobody) have an opinion on the matter.

First off, let me say, I don't think steroids are that bad. All things considered, people using steroids could be doing far worse things to their body. So you're taking a drug...that allows you to work out more often and see better results. Well, you're exercise and lifting weights. Already this doesn't sound particularly terrible, right? There are a lot of other drugs out there with worse side effects. Of course, there's the possibility of overdosing and I can't discount that. However, I have to believe that it's harder to OD on testosterone than on heroin.

Secondly, you don't get high when you take steroids. Nobody is taking a dose of steroids and then driving impaired. Steroids don't make you hallucinate and jump off a bridge or kill your roommate. They don't turn you into a zombie like bath salts do. They help you get bigger, stronger and faster at a rate faster than you could do on your own. Steroids don't turn you into a junky, there's no meathead on the corner offering to give BJ's for another dose of Dianabol. So why do people care SO much about them??

I don't mean to come off sounding too pro-steroid, because I'm not. I don't think they belong in athletics at any level. However, they are there and they are a very real problem. Frankly, all I'd like to know is who is actually taking performance enhancing drugs so that everyone can know who is and isn't. Taking a PED doesn't make you a better athlete; there's no drug that makes you able to hit a 90 mph fastball or catch a pass across the middle of the field. Lance didn't inject himself with EPO and then go win the Tour. He, and every other athlete who's taken steroids, still had to put in long hours training and working hard at getting better at what they do. If they were so willing to put in those long hard hours, why did they have to use drugs after all?

Because our society doesn't reward losers. We all look at second place as the first loser. We want to know why you didn't win, and what you could have done differently to change the outcome. We expect super-hero caliber performances from our larger-than-life athletes. Big time stars sell tickets and merchandise and sponsorships. The expectations put on elite-level athletes of every age are ridiculous. The big deals go to the best performers, so why would these people not use something that would make them better?

People who need to speak in front of big crowds will often take beta-blockers to help keep themselves from getting anxious. Musicians and artists use all sorts of drugs to help improve their art. The Air Force gives out amphetamines to their pilots to keep them sharp in the air. Hell, porn stars even use Viagra to enhance their performance. Nobody cares about any of that, though.

There are two strength sports where steroids are not just common, they are almost necessary: powerlifting (untested federations) and elite-level strongman competitions. To be competitive in either of those, you basically need to be on steroids. So they all are, and that's ok. The playing field is once again even. Why do they need to be sauced up, though? Because ESPN wouldn't want to air a strongman event where they were deadlifting 600 pounds for reps or dragging a Honda Civic. We want to see guys picking up 1,000 pounds of truck tires and pulling fire trucks strapped to their backs. If those guys weren't all juiced up, they'd be out of a job.

Side note: Mariusz Pudzianowski was once asked during an interview "When is the last time you took anabolic steroids" and he answered by asking "What time is it?"

At the end of the day, I don't think PED's are that big a deal. We, as a country, have much more important things to deal with. I'd rather see our government worry more about how to get the economy out of the shitter or how to stop people from shooting up schools. Whether or not Lance cheated and lied about it shouldn't be the headline on every newspaper and website in the country. I think that's a worse problem than what he did.

Have a great day, go lift some heavy shit.

1 comment:

  1. Steroid is cheating just like everything else in life. How can we can something a sport when steroid is involved?