Thursday, February 23, 2006

Urine or You're Out

In a perfect world professional athletes would never break any laws, do drugs, say anything stupid, or rip their own fans. Athletes would be admired by all. Parents would have no qualms with their children emulating the humble, hard working behaviors of our everyday professional athlete.

But that’s not the reality of the modern athlete. They are rich and rude, they take whatever drug (recreational or performance enhancing) they can get their hands on.

Does it make sense to even have drug tests anymore?

I know the argument, the kids look up to the athletes and if the kids know the athletes are taking drugs, they will too. Any parent who lets their kid emulate any modern athlete should have their parenting ticket shredded into a thousand little pieces.

I got news for you parents; most of your kids are beyond the maturity level of professional athletes already. Athletic prowess trumps all other requisite skills that the rest of us are forced to develop during the maturation process. Elite athletes zip through childhood to adolescence to adulthood in the EZ-Pass lane without so much as reading a highway sign or reading anything else for that matter.

If your kids are hooked on drugs, don’t blame it on professional athletes, look at his new friend Todd, the glaze-eyed kid who never seems to leave your house, and whose laugh sounds like an ’79 Thunderbird engine trying to start on a 10 degree January morning. If you’re kid is an athlete he probably is being introduced to the smokeless chemicals to make him stronger, faster, and therefore better for his team.

Yes, it’s fourth and an ounce for Ricky Williams and he is not going to make it. He failed three prior tests for weed and a fourth for what the league hasn’t disclosed. Maybe it’s an unknown drug? Ricky spends a lot of time in India, maybe he used some of his signing bonus for pharma R&D?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m anti-drug. I don’t want Cheech and Chong as my starting corners, even if they have experience in the nickel package. Having said that, I don’t think these professional athletes should be tested for substances. I think they should be able to take whatever they want to take and pay the consequences for their own actions later. A performance enhancing drug is all the better. We the fans benefit because we get to see better performances.

Remember the great homerun race of 1998 between McGwire and Sosa? Those two resembled human bobble heads and we all knew they were downing more than protein shakes. But who cares? It gave us a great story to follow that season. I still remember batting practice that summer and how McGwire effortlessly blasted 500ft. moon shots off the upper deck at the Vet. Let’s face it, baseball hasn’t been that interesting since that season.

Think about it, do you think our beloved ’93 Phils would have given us that great ride if they were substance free? No, me neither..

As a fan, at the end of the day, I just want to see the best possible performance on the field, particularly if I’m a season ticket holder. The way they prepare to give us the best possible performance should be left up to the athlete.

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