Were the Good Old Days Better?

When a broadcaster or sports fan mentions drug abuse or steroid usage why do they always refer to the past as an indicator that what is happening now is wrong?

So yes, we know that David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Maguire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, etc. have all used or have allegedly used performance enhancing substances. I can debate the validity of such claims all day long but I would most like to focus on the assumption that everything in the past was perfect.

Throughout time, people really have not changed much – we still require food, water, shelter, and a means of making a living. In general we are no more or less loyal to our neighbors now as we were then, although some may argue that social behaviors have changed and people are a bit more independent now than they were then. All in all, people then were just as much willing to try to get an edge competitively over the next guy as they are now. In fact the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and on, were not nearly as rosey as is made out to be. The 20’s ended with the greatest depression ever in the U.S. proceeded by a massive crime wave spawned by Prohibition. War littered the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and on – I think you get the idea.

My point is – it is a sacrilige these days to question or attack history or even the character of our nationall heros or institutions. For example if I said Babe Ruth was an alcoholic and that he quite possibly may have played in games drunk. First someone would explain that Babe Ruth was not using performance enhancing drugs and then they would immediately question my intelligence and probably find it offensive that I would question the “integrity” of the game. I find it abhorring that people assume that for the last 100 years of athletics, players have not cheated or found ways to enhance their competitive performance – after all it is a part of human nature.

In general, I would love to see this whole debate pertaining to performance enhancing drugs end abruptly for all sports and not just baseball. Here is a guiding principle that I would like to see applied to the whole situation.

If you are caught using / distributing illegal substances you will be turned over to the authorities and prosecuted. For the items on the banned substances list (not illegal) deemed as performacne enhancing for sport XYZ, if you are caught using these you will face a mandatory suspension XYZ for first offense, suspension 123 for second offense, and indefinite suspension for third offense. Random tests will proceed with a less than 24 hour notification period.

With that…..I ask you…….were the good old days really that much better than now?

One Comment on “Were the Good Old Days Better?

  1. Not your best piece of writing but a valid argument. The Black Sox scandal is fair more appropriate than Babe Ruth when your talking about past baseball blunders.When talking about steroids in baseball I find it amazing that all the players take the fall for Bud Selig.Steroids saved baseball. Selig was fine turning a blind eye in the past but now he has so far distanced himself from steroids that he comes off as a hero.I agree that the steroids discussions need to end. Just come out with all the information and get it over with. Now it is just sensationalism.Competitive edge is the most important factor that you raise in this blog. Why is using steroids wrong?When comparing past and present eras look at all the modern advances we have made. Past baseball players are the true athletes. Players today workout, take supplements, eat healthy all to perform at their peak physical states. In the past the athletes relied on pure God given talent. Like you mentioned sometimes they would inhibit that by playing drunk.We did not know nearly as much about booze back then as we do now. But we are only at the beginning of the health craze. If someone were to come out with a miracle "drug" that made you stronger, faster, and healthier why wouldn't everyone take it?The excuse that steroids are bad for professional athletes is because they can harm your body and that this sets a bad example for kids. Alcohol abuse is just as bad for as steroids yet it is socially acceptable. Athletes use steroids to recover from injuries faster, and increase strength training.I agree that steroids and hgh have no place in professional sports. But medical advancements will eventually create a healthy supplement comparable to steroids and hgh. What will we do then? Current excuses to keep athletes from using a performance enhancer will no longer fit.Will we police professional athletes for taking a true performance enhancing drug?

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