Doping in Sports: Really? Who cares…

So, I spend this past evening watching a segment on 60 Minutes regarding doping in cycling, with Tyler Hamilton, a world-class cyclist and Olympic Gold medal winner, admitting to doping, and also accusing others in his sport, including Lance Armstrong, of doing the same.

I’m not naive enough to think that doping doesn’t exist in sports, and is probably even fairly wide-spread.  In some sports it may even be a part of the culture.  I do agree with the idea of testing as a means of discouraging use and leveling the playing field – although if it’s pretty widely used, I don’t know how much this really balances things out – but assuming it does, I think it’s a good idea to continue the practice.  But, ultimately, I think a world-class athlete is a world-class athlete because of the effort and time and discipline.  How much of an edge certain drugs give him/her, I can’t really say, but I doubt it turns a dud into an Olympic gold medalist, or an NBA star.

I guess my big pet peeve in all of this are the millions of tax dollars being spent investigating something that will have zero benefit to the American public.  Spending money to investigate if an athlete cheated years ago seems like – no, correction – IS a waste of time and money, and, I should hope with unemployment as high as it is, wars overseas, the issues with healthcare, housing and education, they would spend their time and our money a little more wisely.    Ultimately, sports are a form of entertainment for the masses, and to be honest, I don’t think the masses care that much about the issue of doping.  They care for a good show, and I think most would willing look the other way with regards to doping if it meant maintaining a certain level of performance in sports.  People don’t pay money to watch “average”, they pay money to watch “exceptional”, and I think most sports lovers are shallow enough to put aside their ethics if it meant they could keep the thrill of watching records being broken, and athletes at their peak.  The only real way change would occur is if spectators and sponsors actually boycotted sports events and programs in response to any drug use, but we all know that will never happen.  The fans, whether they realize it or not, encourage and enable these sort of practices by buying tickets & paraphernalia, and watching it on TV.  The all mighty dollar has spoken – and it’s on the side of doping…

Anyway, just to clarify, I am NOT pro-doping by any means…but, the attention, time and money it gets, when there are much more serious issues at hand, just boils my blood.  Nobody is dying from taking these performance enhancing drugs, stop wasting my time and my tax dollars.   Move on – please. Really, nobody cares…

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