What was the first thing that came to your mind? A particular sport? Another notable sports hero?
We live in a world of code. Single words evoke powerful images and thoughts. You have been programmed.
Steroids. Corticosteroids? Mineralocorticoids? Anabolic steroids?
Performance-enhancing drugs. Another powerful image — right? One more loaded term.
In early 1960s one the best ballplayers of all times was Mickey Mantle. Mickie had injured his knees playing football during high school. He suffered repeated knee injuries during his career. For most of his career he walked onto the field a cripple. The late great Casey Stengel said, “there goes best crippled ballyplayer I’ve ever seen.”
He probably received Novocain (lidocaine) or cortisone (a corticosteroid) injections. Performance-enhancing drugs? You bet. Steroids? Corticosteroids. See.
Steroids have become code for cheats, liars and villains.
Do you really think that HGH or testosterone accounts for the phenomenal success of Barry bonds or Alex Rodriguez? Would you grant that these are some of the most talented players in history? All of your answers are colored by code-words.
The reality is long ball hitters depend on a form of photographic memory (calling the right pitch) and extraordinary skill and exquisite timing. Give testosterone or growth hormone injections injections to every ballplayer in the major leagues and how many do you think will become legendary long ball hitters? About the same percentage as already exists.
How about other sports. Modern Olympic pole vaulters use highly elastic fiberglass poles. Can we really compare the records today with those of 50 years ago?
Golfers use high-tech graphite clubs. Do you really think that you can compare any of today’s players with Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones or Ben Nelson?
Modern tennis rackets are larger with more flexible graphite and polypropylene materials. Can we really compare today’s greats with Poncho Gonzalez, Roy Emerson or Bill Tilden?
It is time to change our attitudes.
“Steroids” is a contrivance of self-serving legislators and the mainstream media vying for your attention. We need to get real. An honest look and debate.