Tag Archives: Sports

Steroids vs. Gatorade

I find that a really good way to get on somebody’s nerves is to challenge their belief system.  I never do it just to get on people’s nerves of course, but I do enjoy a good debate from time to time.  It’s fun to exchange ideas, and sometimes watch people squirm when you point out things that contradict what they believe.  Even if I share the same views as a person, I enjoy playing Devil’s Advocate far too much.  If at the end of our debates, they were able to bring up several good arguments I’ll always respect them for it, knowing that they believe in their viewpoint because they’ve thought it through, and not just because everyone else believes it.  Having said that, I’ve had the following debate many times before, and I’ve never been able to convince anybody to change their opinion about it.  I’m not even suggesting that I agree 100% with my own opinion, but I do enjoy entering a debate as the dark-horse.

The topic is (once again) the baseball/steroid issue.  My stance is “Who cares?”

I was inspired to write this after seeing the new Gatorade commercials for the G Series.  If you don’t know, Gatorade has a 3 part process now.  First you eat a ‘chew’ to prime yourself before playing sports.  Then you drink regular Gatorade (which is now called ‘perform’) while you’re playing sports.  Then there’s a ‘recovery’ shake to drink after you play sports.  Awesome!!  There are a lot of supplements which can give you more energy to be sure, but Gatorade may just be that (fair/unfair) advantage that you need.  Kind of like steroids (but I’ll get back to that).

I always find it interesting that they have a steroid witch hunt involving 2 retired players, namely Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.  They really want to set an example by trying to ruin the legacy of the greatest hitter (arguably) and pitcher (arguably) of this past generation.  They couldn’t do anything to them while they were playing, because for most of their playing years, Major League Baseball didn’t even have a steroid policy in place.  Now that they’re embarrassed by how poorly they handled it, they want to blame like half a dozen guys for what Jose Canseco claims 80% of the league did?  How fair/unfair is that?  If these guys played for the Yankees while admitting to taking steroids, it would have blown over quickly.  They’re being punished for dishonesty along with Pete Rose, and that isn’t even about drugs.  I mean MLB and drugs??  They were nowhere near this upset when half the league was coked out in the 80s.  I think it’s ok to punish guys now that there is a clear rule in place, but before that players were going to push boundaries.  If the league doesn’t set any than shame on them.  Do you think it’s fair/unfair to  “Ben Johnson” them by making a couple of guys the scapegoats for what was a league wide problem.  Ben Johnson was the fastest man in the world, Roger Clemens was the best pitcher, and Barry Bonds was the best hitter.  They were sinners like everyone else, but they were punished for their greatness, not their steroid use.

What do steroids do anyways?  I don’t think it teaches you to throw a curveball, or to hit one either.  It does help you recover better though.  When you play 162 times in 182 days, you better be able to recover.  Luckily Advil helps.  I’ll never forget an aging, but still amazing Nolan Ryan who was the first Advil spokesman that I can recall.  I know after a tough game, I can take a couple of Advil and feel amazing the next day.  Was it fair/unfair for Nolan Ryan to take Advil?

What makes a variety of supplements, vitamins, good food, and over the counter medication OK, but steroids not OK?  Is it because it’s illegal?  Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal.  Lots of players have done that, but none have an asterisk beside their name in the record books claiming they didn’t really do what they did.  Assault is illegal.  Players get into fights sometimes, shall we re-write the record book for that?

So why are people so mad about the whole steroid thing?  I think it’s a fairness issue.  Most people would have been told by now that life isn’t fair, and would agree with that.  Why do we expect other things to be fair then.  Baseball isn’t fair.  It never has been.  Is it fair that someone should have heaps of talent, and someone else doesn’t?  Is it fair that someone is 6 ft 4, and someone else is only 5 ft 9?  Which of those 2 kids gets drafted?  The talented 6 ft 4 kid who hasn’t done much, or the over achieving 5 ft 9 kid who put up big numbers in high school?  It’s the 6 ft 4 kid every time.  Is that fair/unfair?

Now we all hate the big millionaire best player in the game, that gets greedy and takes steroids so he can get more money/fame/records.  That’s usually the example people think of when they think of steroid use.  What about the guy that signed a pretty good contract, and is under a lot of pressure to perform, but maybe he’s got a nagging injury, and doesn’t feel like he’s earning the money that the team is paying him, the team is losing, and if he could just get back to feeling a little more healthy like he used to when he was a better player, maybe he could contribute a bit more and get the weight of the world off his shoulders for 5 minutes, and he sees everyone else doing it so he………. or the guy that’s 32 years old and has been that close but no cigar prospect/career minor leaguer, who’s dreamed every day of his life of being a major league baseball player, and he got so close he could almost taste it, but younger, bigger, stronger kids with more ‘upside’ keep bypassing him on their way to the big leagues, and if he could only muscle a few more fly balls out of the park, the big club might take notice and call him up for a few weeks so he could die happy knowing he achieved his lifelong dream.  Maybe just one time……….Could you find it in your heart to forgive these guys if they took steroids?  I could!  In fact, I’ll take it a step further and say as a fan, I respect them for risking their health to try to get better.  They wanted to be better at their jobs!!!  I would love to have employees like that.  It takes a strange mix of stupidity and desperation to become a steroid user.  Somehow as a fan, I think they did this for us!  We can argue their methods, but we can’t question their dedication.

In closing, I guess it’s not really as much of an issue any more.  MLB does have rules now.  They were a little late to the party, but there are now consequences for getting caught taking steroids.  I think I just wish they would stop all the nonsense about trying to dig up the past.  This was a ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario where if there are no controls in place, chaos ensues.  MLB has nobody to blame but themselves, and I think it’s in poor taste for everyone to try to hang a few guys out to dry for a problem that hundreds if not thousands of people should be punished for.  Let’s just call it bad management and move on.  Now players know the parameters and can stick to using other performance enhancers like Gatorade.

Is that fair/unfair?

If I HAD to get caught in a time warp, the year would be……….

“Oh, when I look back now…. the summer seemed to last forever…. and if I had a choice…. yeah I would wanna be there….. those were the best days of my life”  –  Bryan Adams – fellow Canadian who was having the best days of his (musical life) at that exact moment (in my opinion).

The song was called Summer of ’69.  But it was released in 1985 which is the year I would want to get caught in a time warp.  Why would I choose a song which was clearly not about the year that I wanted to talk about?  You’re guess is as good as mine.  Don’t fight it, just go with it.  I mean, I’m sure that ’69 was cool, but I was born in 74 so I don’t want to gamble on the unknown.  I’ll pick a year that I’ve seen and lived through.

Now I don’t really know what a time warp is, and Wikipedia didn’t help, but I’ve always saved this term for describing people who just stopped evolving at a certain point in the world’s history (to be fair, I base this on appearances if I don’t know the person…..which isn’t really fair at all, but I can’t slow down for technicalities right now).  I see it all the time, at work, on the train, at the mall.  It usually happens to people over 30, and it probably will happen to everyone at some point.  I sometimes see a person, and look at the way they’ve dressed, the way they talk, and I can usually pick the year that they stopped evolving.  Fashion is the easiest indicator.  It moves around, and sometimes you move with it, and look current.  Sometimes you might skip over a trend or two if it doesn’t suit you, but other times people just stop forever with a certain ‘look’, and that’s the ‘look’ they have for the rest of their lives.  As time moves further and further away from that moment, you look more and more like you weren’t made for these times.

I have an example of a guy who is a tradesman that I run into from time to time.  He’s a nice guy, and he is usually wearing some sort of work uniform, but he has a mullet.  A great mullet mind you!  There is definitely product in his hair, and it’s well maintained.  If this were 1985, you’d look at his hair with fascination and approval.  Now I look at it still with fascination, but…..  I can tell that in his mind it’s 1985.  That his ‘Glory Days’ (released 1985 by Bruce Springsteen) were in the mid 80s, and he just stopped evolving.  He got stuck in a time warp, so now his clothes and hair probably look a bit weird to most, and if he was single and wanted to meet women, he’d have to find someone who was also stuck in that same time warp, so that they would ‘get’ each other.  I’m not saying that’s bad.  I’m not saying this guy doesn’t have a great life.  After all, what better year to be stuck in?  I remember another guy who owned a bar in a small town, and it was near the lake, but you could tell he wishes he was a Sam Malone type of bartender, but based out of California in a Huey Lewis & the News video.  This wasn’t that, but it didn’t seem so bad.  After all, he had a great ‘Mark Harmon in Summer School’ Hawaiian shirt.

My advice on avoiding the time warp phenomenon?  3 things.  First, believe that your best days are ahead of you.  The fashion time warp hits people who (subconsciously) feel that they’ve already peaked.  They want to be like they were in their ‘glory days’, so they act, dress, and talk like they still are.  Second, keep an open mind about things that are happening today.  Yes, the music we listened to back in the day was way better than this shit, but there’s still some good stuff coming out if you’re patient enough to find it and give it a fair listen.  Third, don’t dive too deep into the fashion trends.  There are always some classic looks, and some wardrobe staples that never go out of style.  If you can stick to some of those looks, then people won’t be able to pinpoint the year you got stuck in.

Finally, why did I pick 1985 to get stuck in (if I had to get stuck, which I hope I never do)???  Because I was 10 years old….my hair had an ambitious concoction of mousse, gel, hairspray, all to try to get that Duran Duran look…….Back to the Future came out (and btw, the future is 3 years from now…. where are our flying cars?)……My Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs for the first time, and had a 99 win season which is the best regular season they ever had (including their 2 World Series years)…..On July 13th I woke up at 7am to watch Live Aid on TV which is probably the most extraordinary concert of all time for a lot of reasons…….I wore parachute pants……I had a Commodore 64…….Pop music was on the tail end of possibly most interesting period (ok fine music purists, the keyboards and electric drums were a bit much, but is was fun as shit)……WWF wrestling hadn’t yet become a weird soap opera for men (they actually had wrestling matches)……..The San Francisco 49ers won the Superbowl……Music Video stations like MTV and MuchMusic actually played Music Videos!!!……There was so much neon (my wife thinks it’s disturbing that I have such a fascination with this, but if your restaurant or hotel has a neon sign, I’d like to eat/stay there…. reminds me of Miami Vice)………Probably the funnest part of 1985 (other than Coca-Cola shitting the bed by changing the recipe of the most popular drink in the world, and then having to change it back (btw… ughh I know bracket within a bracket… ugh I know, they’re called parenthesis, people should never be afraid of making mistakes….. just be awesome all the time and people will forgive you…. that’s the first thing I’ll tell my kid when he/she is old enough to understand….. Look at Coke!!!)) was the fact that I was 10 years old and didn’t have a care in the world.  I couldn’t fault anyone for being stuck in a time warp like that!!  I wouldn’t recommend it either though…. it’s not a good look.