Say it Ain’t So, Lance: For the Love of the Game

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I was sad to read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Lance Armstrong facing doping charges by the US Anti-Doping Agency. As a cyclist – heck, as an American – Lance has been held up as a role model for so many reasons, his cycling being just one.

I have no idea if Armstrong is guilty of the charges, but the allegations presented in this article are severe. I can’t help but wonder what has happened to sports?

When I was little I went to Orioles baseball games all the time with my family. I could tell you the position and team of almost any baseball player and had a huge number of baseball cards, which I was sure would finance my retirement.

Our family friends who were even more baseball-obsessed than we were ended up trading all of my valuable baseball cards for  cards of players on whom I had girlhood crushes, but I didn’t mind. (Now that I have hit 40, I have started to second guess that decision, but that is a subject for another post).

When we went to baseball games when I was younger, we would never see a score of 13-8; it just didn’t happen. Today, these scores are typical. I can’t help but think that easy access to performance enhancing drugs is a contributing factor.

It seems like weekly we hear about another athlete who is being charged with doping or who is found guilty of the charge. It is disappointing.

What do you think? Why is drug use so prevalent in sports today? If these drugs had been available in Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio’s time, do you think they would have used these drugs? What does this say to our kids, who look up to these athletes? What do you think could be done to curb the use of these drugs? Do you think that the penalties are harsh enough for drug use? And why do you think these charges are coming against Armstrong now, when the criminal investigation has recently ended?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

18 Comments

Filed under Culture, Fitness, Health, International, social pressures, Sports

18 responses to “Say it Ain’t So, Lance: For the Love of the Game

  1. Dear News,
    Are you kidding me?
    Of Lance really is using…
    Wow.
    It makes me sad. Our whole society views drugs very differently these days. I had a friend tell me recently She’s been feeling kinda stressed lately… her solution was to go on Zoloft.
    It seems to be a widespread problem.
    Great post!
    Lis

    I thought provoking post

  2. I think Armstrong is a special case because if he did take drugs he used his success to help others — in addition to advancing his own career. Most of the other athletes who took drugs did so simply to get a step up. His altruism makes Armstrong’s a special case in my view. But I do suspect he did and I doubt there was the temptation years ago — or the peer pressure. But if there had been some of those great players would have succumbed I expect. They were human, too.

    • Hi Hugh! I am sure you are right about the great players. And I hope you are wrong about Lance, but you’re probably right about that too. I think it is great that he used his success to help others and I really admire him for that. But that certainly doesn’t excuse the cheating, if he did it, in my opinion.

      • I agree, as usual. It’s still cheating. But I do think he is a special case. He’s still wrong (if he did use PEDs), but in a class apart from the other athletes who did it for purely selfish reasons.

        • Interesting perspective. So you think that he did this in part to elevate his image in order to raise awareness for his foundation? You give him a lot of credit. I love Lance, but I think that ago plays a big part in this. But I can see where you are coming from as well. Just so disappointing.

  3. I believe that there is something about some athletes that drives them to want to be the best in their field at all, and any cost. Which is the reason why I believe they use the steroid enhancing drugs in the first place. The young lady runner….I can’t think of her name now; anyway, she went to jail for doing the exact same thing. I wonder what will happen to Lance?

    • I think you are right. But it is so disappointing. Maybe we ask too much of our athletes and drive them to do this – and if one competitor does it, others feel the pressure. Such a shame. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I think what they might have been talking about when they said ‘doping’, is when athletes draw some of their blood, keep it in a mini fridge for a week or so (I don’t really know how long) and then they re-inject it into themselves. Its illegal to do in competitive sports because it makes you stronger and gives you an enormous boost.

  5. To be honest, I expect he did it to inflate his ego. But he may have felt pangs of conscience ( we will never know) and thought he should do some good. He did immense good. But, as you say, it’s still cheating.

    • Good point. I wonder if that did factor in. Of course, I realize I am convicting him without a trial, but it seems hard to believe they would bring these allegations without proof. We shall see, I suppose.

  6. I picked up a Sports Illustrated in the doctor’s waiting room and read most of an article on the 10 year anniversary of the steroid scandal. There was one of four pitchers on this minor league team who took steroids and eventually made the majors. He later considered suicide, but overcame that and is now a minister. He said the reason he did it was he knew he could not fulfill his dream of being in the majors and did not want the failure of returning home without the promotion. The other three felt cheated as they did it the right way. They worked very hard to make it and when others take shortcuts, it takes away a dream. The sad truth is being realized by those who did take drugs, as their life will be mentally and physically more challenging after the sport. You really do sell your soul to the devil when you take this shortcut. To be honest, I have never believed Lance did not take drugs. That kind of success is too extraordinary – kind of like Barry Bonds’ success.

    • Sounds like an interesting article! Yeah, sadly, I won’t be surprised to learn if it is true. You have to wonder if we set athletes up by expecting more and more from them – and some of our expectations come from the results of people who have used these drugs, so it is a self-perpetuating problem. But it makes me sad. Oh well, I can’t cure every ill of society, now can I? 😉 Thanks for your comment.

      • It is sad and we cannot cure the problem. I used to read the sports pages religiously, but over the past ten years or so, I found myself reading less since it was filled with drug usage, obscene money and kids going pro before they have done anything or people knew who they are.

  7. Pingback: Olympics Opening Ceremonies: Boom or Bust? | newsofthetimes

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