Notes: Steroids were in the news again this past week. This time the venue for the scandal was baseball. The circle of roids -- sports, winning and money -- remains unbroken. How do you stop steroid use in sports when no one wants to go first and end up having to compete against athletes taking steroids?
I think there's a chicken-and-egg question in all this: Do we fans contribute to athletes taking steroids by demanding more and more size, speed and strength to satiate our sports-viewing thrill with the brass ring being that star athletes make huge incomes? Or do athletes take steroids simply from their own expectations of fame and wealth thereby creating a new norm that fans accept as normal and come to expect.
How can an athlete not take steroids if the competition is taking them? If the United States somehow truly banishes the use of steroids, how will our athletes perform in international competition? Will they show up scrawny and slow compared to nations whose athletes continue to indulge in steroids? Will we accept this? Will we accept 250-pound professional football linemen instead of 350-pound ones? Will the thrill be gone?
Steroids seem to be a little like weapons of mass destruction. All nations want them for themselves, but rail against other nations having them.
I can't resist this anecdote. Playing high school football, I heard that players for a group of winning teams were taking steroids. I didn't know what they were, but innocently went to my family physician, Bill Ross -- the old-fashioned type who almost seemed like a distant relative because your whole family saw him for years -- and asked him for a prescription (I don't know if they were even illegal in those days). Dr. Ross replied with great certainty, "You don't want to mess with that crap." End of story for me and steroids. But just think, I could have been a contender.