I read today in the news that Lance Armstrong was being stripped of all seven of his Tour De France titles, because people have come forward to say he took performance enhancing drugs. Please note that Armstrong never tested positive for doping - not once. As it turns out, he was apparently some sort of doping wizard, outsmarting the testing agencies at every step of the process again and again, for years. Armstrong drank magical potions that would mask all the performance enhancers, staying just ahead of the scientific testing curve and maintaining the squeaky-clean facade that hid the Steroid Monster that lurked just beneath the surface. Sometimes, subterfuge and pee-test sleight of hand was necessary and I am nearly certain there were chants, prayers, talismans and live chickens involved as well. It was like a high-tech Harry Potter story on wheels.
Forget about Armstrong's charitable work; he formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation to benefit people affected by cancer and has raised over $350 million dollars from the sale of his stylish yellow "Live Strong" bracelets - and did I mention that Armstrong won all of his Tour De France races after battling testicular cancer?
But I am not writing today to express my indignation at having Armstrong stripped of his French titles in the sport most notorious in all of the sporting kingdom for the doping of its participants.
It is my opinion that performance enhancing drugs are a natural progression of nature in general and sports specifically. Steroids and human growth hormones have insinuated themselves into nearly every sport in the world, even golf, which is little more than a frustrating walk through a well-groomed meadow. When Tiger Woods was eating fellow golfers like a red-shirted woodchipper, there were rumblings that he might have been plying the aid of PED's. After all, when one is used to watching Craig Stadler and his generation of golfers, a buffed-out Tiger Woods must look like Superman.
I think that it's fair to say that probably every athlete in every sport on the planet is looking for a competitive edge and always has, be it through bending the rules, using an improved diet, exercise, or voodoo. One can only guess at how many desperate ballplayers took up drinking, carousing and eating hot dogs before and during games after reading of Babe Ruth's exploits.
Baseball didn't even seem to take steroids seriously until Jose Conseco wrote about the rampant clubhouse abuse of the drugs in a tell-all book. The Selig administration certainly didn't seem to mind the fact that every record in the book was being systematically destroyed when the Sosa/McGuire homerun race was going on back in 1998. The two men blasted balls out of every park in the nation at a pace not seen since the Iron-City Beer-fueled days of 1961, when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris chased and Maris broke the Bambino's single-season record. All the commissioner knew was that his sport had been saved after many fans had waved a disgusted hand at baseball after a strike-shortened season in 1994. The fans were back by the millions, because after all, who doesn't dig the long ball?
536 Home Runs, courtesy Iron City Beer
My point is this: Forget about trying to control doping. I say let everyone take steroids, human growth hormone or flax-seed Wheaties for all I care - have black beauties out in a candy dish in the clubhouse - the players are going to use them anyhow. Some will get caught, others will escape detection. If they are available to everyone, then the playing field is once again level. And let the fun begin. I want to see angry, roided-up monsters with huge heads and teeny little testicles demolishing all records in all sports. I want anarchy on the field - I want the refs to be roided up as well and armed with clubs, whips and tasers to help control the vicious beasts. I want to see fights on the field where a juiced-up out of control lineman literally tears the head off a quarterback with his bare hands, just as the QB launches an 85 yard pass with the velocity of a Civil War cannonball to a gazelle of a receiver streaking down the field so fast his shoes catch fire.
Baseball bats will need to be made out of iron and the pitching mound will be raised by two additional feet to accommodate fireballers with arms the size of matured hams. Basketball rims will be raised to 15 feet. Golf courses will double in length and clubs will be built by NASA. Full-contact will be encouraged in all sports, including golf and swimming. Checkers, too - let them juice and kill themselves off in fits of uncontollable checker-pique. Fuck checkers, anyhow.
If this seems a bit radical, so be it. I am tired of over-paid athletes celebrating every hit, catch, tackle, basket and bunt. Let's see how the celebration goes when a 432 pound defensive back takes umbrage to your delicate, pre-choreographed catch-dance and tears you apart at the groin, like a giant, Spandex-covered wishbone. Let's bring some humility back into sports, shall we? And what better way to do so than to let the steroid-fountain flourish - let them steroid ponies run, I say!
Vote Jerry Ford King in the upcoming elections. It'll do your steroid-swollen heart good.