Friday, July 31, 2009

Let Us Weigh In On Performance Enhancements

Yesterday a document was leaked (or more likely outright released) that included the names of 103 - 104 baseball players who allegedly tested positive for steroid use in 2003. is, in my opinion, hungry for amping up their Sitemeter stats because I am quite sure after this “oops” occurred yesterday more people visited their site than I mean their website tag line is: “All fantasy news all the time”; there are definitely two ways to interpret that one.

Now as pretty much all of you know I am a Red Sox fan. No, I am not a fan of baseball per se, just the Red Sox. (For the remainder of this paragraph the words “us” and “we” will refer to the collective known in these parts as Red Sox Nation) I do not follow stats and frankly could care less about what any other team is doing, short of us kicking the proverbial asses of the Evil Empire. If you know anything about us then you know exactly who that is. Since we won the World Series in 2004, and a whole bunch of the players on this list were members of that team, well, you can imagine what was being yelled out in the Cask’n Flagon last night.

This really got me thinking a lot about so called performance enhancements and I suddenly became extremely defensive of any athlete who uses anything (especially Michael Phelps). Why the hell should athletes be deprived of any and all advantages to do the best they can possibly do? No other profession stops its workers from using.

Don’t believe me?

OK then here is what I suggest you do. Hop in your vehicle of choice and head on down to your local purveyor of Adult Entertainment, purchase (or rent if you don’t feel like having it in your collection past my requested research period) a film of your choice, just make sure it has at least one guy in it. Next, hit the local convenience store and pick up a stop watch. Come home and toss in the flick. Pay no mind to the plot, because, you know, that is not the important part here. What I want you to do is keep that watch running for as long as the guy is.

Impressive huh?

Now try to tell me there are no little blue pills hanging around. No one seems to give a crap that all those guys are possibly using some kind of performance enhancer. Nothing kills an adult film faster than a sorry case of ED. If I was the director of one of those films it would probably be something I encouraged since it might even boost sales.

My landscaper puts on sun screen. That’s a chemical and enhances his performance because he can stay out in the sun longer to really pull those weeds like the pro he is.

Stay at home moms might imbibe a cocktail or two in the evening although their job is technically never done. A drink certainly lowers the level of stress and reduces their feelings of inadequacy or pressure to perform.

I can not honestly say that I have never partaken in a mind freeing substance now and again when the words were just not flowing. Then again most of the time I simply fall back on the all time favorite performance enhancing crutches of every writer -- the dictionary and thesaurus.

Someone should fine me 3,000 words and make me sit and watch all my fellow writers type away their own lunacy for the next ten articles, but totally ban me from participating. I will just call it a vacation; I mean at least my carpel tunnel can take a rest while I sit these next few out.

If doctors can use them to help treat their patients who suffer certain ailments then why should we begrudge an athlete from learning all the facts about them and saying yea or nay on their own to using them?

I say make them legal in sports, let them all use them and finally just level the playing field back to zero. After all, if everyone is on them it will provide no real advantage over another player.

Just like when mom said nothing about the guy you were dating simply to spite her and so it came back to bite you in your own ass, if one random hitter will be just as awesome as the next there is no fun in doing it anymore. All the players can then just quit and go back to the good old days of only winning or losing when a bookie says to.

Photo credit, click picture to be taken directly to Photobucket site.


Bridgete said...

A bunch of us were talking about this stuff at work the other day. I'm totally with you. And besides, if we do level the playing field and it turns out that baseball players all keep using and it's fun to watch and that's just how it is, then what's wrong with that? I mean, don't we enjoy watching 7-foot tall men run back and forth throwing a ball into a hoop? Or solid masses of muscle crashing into each other, all in an effort to get an odd quasi-egg shaped ball to their side of the field? These athletes are where they are because they're a little bit least when it comes to athletics.

Other famous people are a bit superhuman too. Musicians have an innate sense about flow and chord progressions that I can't match even after two years of music theory. Actors have a presence that makes you want to watch them - for more reasons than the fact that they're also supernaturally attractive. Models straight up ARE supernaturally attractive. Dancers know how to use their body so well that they are capable of throwing themselves high into the air and then landing with hardly a sound.

I can't imagine there's nothing behind most of those people. Many musicians use plenty of mind-altering substances to get the creative juices flowing. Some can do it without...they're just naturally more superhuman than the rest. Actors get plastic surgery and use face creams and go to dermatologists and personal trainers to stay beautiful, to continue being that person you can't tear your eyes from. Models...hell, a lot of them are on something to keep themselves stick-thin. Who knows what dancers do, but they must do something to find that balance between being thin and still having strength in their muscles.

Am I saying these choices are healthy? No. But it was their choice to get into that industry. It's ultimately their choice to use what is available to them to hold onto that spot instead of letting their 15 minutes end. And it's not up to us to make their health decisions anyway. Yeah, it's to give us more of what we want that they do it, but if an entire industry simply changed their habits and stopped doing those things...would we really stop going to movies if all the actors and actresses aged naturally and gracefully? Would we stop listening to music if all the musicians stopped doing things to open their minds? Would we stop putting our clothes on models if the standard size went up to a size 4...or even a 6? I don't think so. I think we'd adjust our expectations if they stopped enhancing themselves, and we'd go about our lives as usual. Yeah, there's societal pressure to be more than that. But I think that's just what fame is going to do. You get that recognition and you want to hold onto it.

And that I've made it to law school, do you blame me for drinking atrocious amounts of coffee to stay in the game?

That was the longest comment ever. It may as well have been a post of my own. But now I've typed it, so, there you go.

Chris said...

Here's my question. Were you saying this same thing when A-rod's name was released? Or is it okay only now that Ortiz and Manny are proven cheaters?

Ortiz was all indignant when A-rod's name was being dragged through the mud, and now he looks like a major ass. "Suspend anyone for a whole year" one month, "I have nothing to say" the next. Douchebag.

Just deal with the fact that 2004 was a mirage, where Boston happened to have the best cheaters in baseball.

ginger said...

i love michael phelps...and his water bong too! heck, can you imagine how much better he'd be if he didn't smoke weed?? that stuff slows you down! he was just giving the other guys an advantage and he still kicked their butts!

i think the swimsuit debacle happening right now is insane too.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

@Bridgete - Those "entertainers" being superhuman is what makes us continue to go and watch them do whatever it is that they do. Whether they are on enhancers or not, all of them have a skill that put them out there in the first place so who cares if they feel their skill will be better by using something. Finding out (again) that Barry Bonds used steroids but was still allowed to keep his job makes me wonder. If its such a big deal why aren't they all fired immediately? I think we all know the answer to that question, so just let them do it since we're going to let them do it anyway.

@Chris - Hey, hey, hey! Now I did no name calling of individual players, that is just not necessary. Frankly, since you asked, I have been feeling this way since the Sosa / McGwire days. Who cares. So ARod juiced, so did Ortiz, well good for them, now when they play each other there is no advantage and we can all just get out there and cheer on the 100 yr+ old rivalry the way we were supposed to. I mean Cliff Floyd was on the list too but I'm not bad mouthing the 2008 Rays who seriously whomped our asses. Fair is fair right? Oh but I guess unlike lightning, mirages do strike twice huh? Like 2007 perhaps?

@Ginger - Oh no, what swimsuit debacle? Must have been overshadowed by this story.

ginger said...

you haven't heard about the swimsuits? well, it's so very important! :)

the american swimming people (since i don't know their official name) have banned the use of those fancy super suits that all of the olympic swimmers wore in beijing because they are, indeed, performance enhancers.
because they are so effective in their intended function the association says that they give completely unfair advantage to those who are wearing them. the problem is that not all swimmers can afford the suit; some have to buy them 2 or 3 times every year because of the wear and tear they go through in practice.

in phelps' last race (the first he lost in 4 years), he wasn't wearing the banned suit and the victor was...because only the americans have banned the suit. the field is no longer though one mlb team banned steroids and another didn't.

apparently, the issue is being addressed with the world swimming people (since i don't know their official name).

Tabitha Bird said...

Hmmm...very interesting. i wish there was some performance enhancing something or other for writing. Especially when it comes to writing synopsis'. But yeah, the 'rules' in the world of sports are a bit subjective hey. Wear the swim suit don't wear the swim suit. i wonder in the end how much difference it really makes...
I love bridgete's comment about the true. What's the song....'Lucy in the sky with diamonds.' Now what's that about?
great post.

Rosebud Collection said...

My grandson is crushed about Pappy..Not sure I used the right name, but you know who it is.
You know, it is sad to me, when no one can do a thing on their own steam. I would rather lose, than cheat..You can see, I am a pain.
It is lying and nothing worse than a liar. I always told my girls, lie to me once and it is over.
You know Jenn, so much is greed, they lose site of what is important.
Like I said, my grandson was so upset and thought this guy was great..but he felt cheated..since he had such respect for him and realized it was all a sham.

Audrey said...

Oh dear - we will not agree on this one. I don't care for any drugs of any kind, unless you need them to save your life. But as far as athletes go - it should be off limits. Do you know how many teenage kids watch sports? How many of them think that drugs, and steroids are ok because their hero's do them? Our youngest is 17 and starting to lift weights. He works with someone who is a fanatic about it and is thinking of starting with steroids. After all - the body builders use them so it must be ok! NOT!!!! I would like to have grandchildren one day thank you very much.
Luckily our children have always been open about what their friends and co-workers are doing, so we can steer them in the right direction.
Good thing everyone is intitled to their opinion and we don't have to agree on everything!
Still love your blog!!

Suldog said...

I pretty much agree. And, Chris? The reason we hate A-Rod isn't because he did steroids. It's because he's a douchebag. :-)

Anyway, the whole thing reminds me of the Saturday Night Live routine with Phil Hartman. It's the first "all-drug" Olympics, where everybody can do anything they want. He's a weightlifter, and when he tries to lift about 2,000 pounds, his arms come out of their sockets and blood spurts everywhere and he just sort of looks down in wonder, but no real suggestion of any pain. The announcers go, "Oh, he'll feel that in the morning!"