Marion Jones was a high school and college track phenom. I ran track in high school, and there were two names they would put in those newsletters of young, rising track stars in America, Marion Jones (female) and Obea More (male). She was a world champ at 22. She had an attractive face (bad teeth though which is why she never smiles in pics). She had Nike on her side shoving her down the throats of Americans during the 2000 Olympic run-up. NBC pushed her non-stop as well. Every Olympics needs a star, and she was the chosen one by the America media. The money, fame, and victories were all hers.
The twist in the story is that the BALCO sports medicine clinic was investigated, and it is amazing how things can catch up with you. She stayed clear for a while, but as her trainer, her husband, her friends, etc, were all being busted for roids, you knew the gig would soon be up. All of those medals from 2000 were stripped. All of the positive adoration gone. Throw in check fraud, and now she's in jail for 6 months. From gold medals to orange jumpsuit. Somewhere, a screenwriter is pounding his head against a desk, "Why didn't I think of this 10-15 years ago?" Perfect Arc in 3 Acts: Rise (90's track glory), Peak Moment (2000 Olympics), Fall (roids investigation to present).
I understand why these athletes take these 'enhancers'. It gives them the edge, and it protects them in case someone else is doing them. Still, it's playing Russian Roulette with your health. Ask Lyle Alzado. When I was little, Lyla Alzado meant mean Oakland Raider who ate children for lunch. By the time he died, Alzado was a sad old man, victim of his own hubris. We will see more deaths from steroid abuse and 'performance enhancers' in 10-15 years.
My rant is on how steroid use has permeated culture in America. I know steroids is waaaaaay down the list of national or international concerns. Look at this article here on 'roids. Why are 9th graders taking steroids? At least marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine would give you a good feeling. Roids just bulk you up, cause all sorts of weird side effects, make you pissed off and can lead to cancer & other degenerative disorders. When did sports become so important to so many people that kids began to risk their health in greater and greater numbers? I have met some professional athletes up close and let me dispell the idea parents might have that little Johnny or Jenny will make it 'pro'. Unless they are genetically gifted with something very unusual, speed, size, jumping ability, it ain't going to happen. Prepare them to enjoy sports as a hobby while young and encourage them to be healthy & stay in shape. Your 7 year old is not going pro when you and your husband are two average sized humans with no amazing abilities of your own. Hate to say it is genetic, but it mostly is your genes. If it isn't in the family, you hit the genetic lottery ticket like Lebron James' Mom did.
Is that it though? Is it the lucrative contracts of professional athletes that puts it in people's minds to push their kids, be assholes to everyone involved not related to them, and think their kid is going pro? Is it a money root to this evil? I thought that the worst side effect to the success of Tiger Woods, the Williams sisters, and the Manning sons would be the number of baby boomer parents who would emulate the obsessive, aggressive behavior of the parents of those stars. I think it has come to pass.
The sports industry complex has grown by leaps and bounds as time has passed, so have sports injuries. I do not know a female basketball player who has not had a scope surgery on their knee to repair torn ligaments. Parents getting in fights at games is no longer a rare event confined to hockey dads from Massachusetts. It only makes sense that the children in these homes then think "if i do roids, I'll get big and make the pros". Look kid, you're 5 foot 7, roids will not make you taller. You run a 5.2 40 yard dash, roids will not drop it to 4.4. What it will do is put you at risk for cancer, tumors, small testicles and other problems.
Steroids are much more refined now. Far more allow you to keep your muscle mass after you cycle off. More of them only need one cycle to show large gains. My Navy buddies would show me websites, like this, that would review steroids and explain where to get them. We all laughed at their 5 star system for rating gains, how much stayed after cycling, side effects, cost, and length/number of cycles. We wondered where the "heightened risk of cancer" rating was. Scary part is, I had high school friends who talked of doing "just" 1 or 2 cycles of steroids. I kept thinking "Why and what for?" What was worse, were that my high school friends were done with sports and probably only doing it to get buffer. Do it the old fashioned way guys: vitamins, eating right and working out. The internet has been a perfect storm for getting this illegal substance distributed to a discerning consumer. If you're a kid used to shopping on the internet and already break the 'law' by illegally downloading mp3s, what is the trouble of the next step in buying something over the internet that is an illegal substance? You might have already disassociated the illegality of your actions. You might already have parents who provide you alcohol, look the other way with small law breaking, and consider you a 'god'. Is this a big leap or just a short hop?
I'm not going to even touch the middle aged folks who do steroids to get buff. It's like a 70 year old using Viagra. No sir, you do not have ED. Viagra is for people with real ED, bot just old age ED. In fact, that is not ED, it's just old age. Remember when French class would give you an erection, well if you can;t that means a lot of time has passed and Viagra is not for you.
If only these kids put that much effort into their schooling. Heck, if they took pep pills to study more like Jessie Spano in "Saved by the Bell', I think I'd be ok with it. If they smoked marijuana or did LSD to try to find a meaning to life, I think I'd be ok with it... as long as they stayed in their basement, dorm room, or benign place bothering no one else while doing it.