Steroids In Sports… Is It Unfair?

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by Tyler Tietz

Through out my years as an athlete, I have always looked at ways to improve my game. Whether it be new techniques for my baseball swing, a new weight lifting program to build up strength, or maybe even that new protein shake to get a little bigger and better in a natural way. But every now and then, I have seen -and played against- guys that were bigger than everyone else on the field. These boys had full, dark beards and most boys that age can barely grow a whisker. These other guys weighed twice the size I do and look like they lived an entire year at the gym. Then you hear some people in the stands whispering to each other, “That boy has got to be on steroids.” In some cases the spectators may be right. Then I have to think to myself, ‘Isn’t that a little unfair to the other players out here?’ And the answer to that is absolutely yes! In high school, I was looking for anything to help boost my game, not even in my most desperate moment would I ever think about trying steroids just to get a leg up on the competition. The reason why is because I know what it does to the athlete and how it destroys the sports world, as well as the athlete’s body.

Steroids are a mixture of chemicals that are sometimes put together to make very complex, and potentially dangerous cocktails. What these ‘stacks’ of drugs are supposed to do is stimulate muscle growth and increase muscle strength (Pharmacology, Doping, and Sports pg 26). By taking these supplements, athletes are able to perform at a higher rate for a prolonged period of time without any immediate negative impact. And to the athletes that do not use steroids, this could really make the game unfair and could really have an effect upon the result of a game. This takes away from the ‘magic’ that sports have been able to produce. The big home run totals, the record breaking feats of strength and speed, or even the records accomplished by an entire team are now tarnished because one -or many- players decided to use steroids to get an advantage. And I can speak for all the athletes out there when I say that I play for the love of the game, and when people are taking the fun out of working hard to achieve victory by using steroids to get an immediate advantage, it really grinds my gears.

Also, many athletes who take steroids have not figured out the negative side effects that steroids can cause before it is too late. Some of these effects are more long term and do not appear until after a long period of usage, but some show up only after a short period of time. These short-term effects include non-harmful things like acne and breast development in men (Anabolic Steroid Abuse par 1). Others can end up endangering an athlete’s life by causing heart attacks and liver cancer (Anabolic Steroid Abuse par 1). Now, if that doesn’t sound scary, I don’t know what would scare people these days. So by looking at these adverse effects steroids can cause, I cannot tell why athletes would throw away a good, long sports career without any health issues in favor of a still potentially successful career, but with a side of liver cancer and controversy thrown into the mix. These are the things that many athletes don’t know about and they could end up paying the price.

And one professional athlete by the name of Dan Clark (a.k.a. Nitro from American Gladiator) shed some light on this topic by telling people what steroids did to his body. Some athletes are going to read this and say, “Oh, I’ll just do it in small amounts and steroids won’t bother me at all.” But, Clark put a rest to that theory by saying that it would not work because “as your body stops producing testosterone, you have to take more drugs. It’s an insidious cycle that doesn’t stop” (Steroid Questions for Nitro, American Gladiator par 5). What Clark was saying is that steroids are basically pure testosterone, which the body already makes naturally. And when extra testosterone is added to the body, the brain stops making it and that part of the brain shuts down. Which, in turn, forces the user to take more steroids to fulfill the body’s need for the chemical. I don’t know about anyone else, but that just sounds like a hassle to deal with.

Sure, now we know what exactly steroids do to the body and why it is an unfair advantage. But, where is the proof? Yeah athletes can use steroids, but how can we tell that there is actually any relavence to the question of steroids affecting and athletes performance? One writer by the name of Zachary Rhymer actually did some research on that topic. Rhymer went through the different ‘eras’ of baseball and compiled totals of home runs hit per game during those eras. He then compaired them to the number of home runs hit during the Steroid Era – which started around 1994 and was at it’s peak in 2004. The statistics showed that teams from before the Steroid Era were only hitting around 1.06 homers per game. But during the Steroid Era, teams knocked around 1.1 ball out of the park per game. And when compared to the number of games played per year, those numbers end up being very substantial.

The pages of the history of sports contains some of the greatest moments ever conjured in human existence. But, there will always be one little coffee stain on those pages due to the use of steroids in sports. There are, in fact, rules to help keep sports clean from steroids. Obviously as you could tell from the constant media coverage about players using performance enhancing drugs, as well as the information I have provided previously, that whatever the main rule makers are doing is definitely not working. Hopefully at some point in the near future there are better (more strict) rules to finally make the use of steroids a thing of the past.

Works Cited

“Anabolic Steroid Abuse.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. N.p., July 2001. Web. 1 Dec.

2013.

Fourcroy, Jean L. Pharmacology, Doping and Sports: A Scientific Guide for Athletes,

Coaches, Physicians, Scientists and Administrators. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis. 2008.

Web. 1 Dec. 2013.

Presto, Greg. “Steroid Questions for Nitro, American Gladiator.” Mens Health. N.p. 5 Oct.

2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.

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7 thoughts on “Steroids In Sports… Is It Unfair?

  1. I agree with just about every point you made in this article. people who use steroids in sports should be banned from the sport for life, they have ruined the reputation of many professional sports mainly the MLB

  2. I agree with this article. Just think back about Lance Armstrong. He was an inspiration to many people. He was a hero to children, but everything was a lie. I am sure there were children who wanted to be just like him and actually train hard to achieve the many awards he won. Yet, what those children didn’t know was that it could only be made possible with steroids. People who wanted to be like him might have train hard to an extent where they might have even damaged their bodies trying to achieve something that was not possible. It’s just wrong, not only to the fans, but also to other competitors. Great job on the article.

  3. I agree completely! I think the only case steroids should be used would be for medical purposes only. Being able to take steroids to better your athletic ability, is like you said, unfair. If you want to be good a something you should have to work just as hard as everyone else to get that number one spot. steroids can do some crazy things to your body which in the long run can inhibit you from continuing that sport you took steroids to be good at in the beginning. Why waste your time? Plus most people who do end up using steroids end up getting caught and it gets posted on the news. Talk about public humiliation! Personally I would feel more accomplished knowing I worked hard to be great at a sport rather than knowing I had to take steroids to be great. You made very good points! I enjoyed the read!

  4. I agree with your article but i do have some reservations about saying that. steroids do make the level of sports a lot better and more exciting to watch, but i find it interesting that steroids have such a bad wrap, when tiger woods has had lasic eye surgery to make his vision better then 20/20 to play the game of golf which relies heavily on depth perception. so if steroids enhance strength and speed for sports that relies on that and that is considered cheating then why is tiger woods not considered a cheater (in the game of golf).

  5. I totally agree! I play softball and I know steroids are not common in women sports I can still relate. I would not want to play against some who improved their game by sticking a needle or how ever they do it. I wanna see them run lines we do, early morning practices, late night batting cages to get better. I have more respect for people who work how good they are.

  6. When you’re comparing the “steroid era” to the time before that, how far back are you going? It matters because of some very basic changes to the game, for instance prior to 1947 an entire race of people were not allowed to participate in the sport. Some athletes are already stepping into a situation with clear advantages, whether it be better nutrition, better coaching, or simply better genetics, so It seems to me that a clear line in the sand can’t just created. The issue is more nuanced than “steroids bad” since there is a booming industry of chemists and sports nutritionists who’s only job is to make substances which are “legal” in the eyes of anti doping agencies.

  7. I agree with your article. Steroids have ruined the integrity of the game. Those guys such as Mark Mcguire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds who have been accused of using P.E.D.’s have ruined a whole era of baseball. I just don’t get how someone could blatantly cheat. It is selfish and immoral. It shows a lack of respect for the game and all of the people who are trying to play it the right way.

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