DENVER, CO – In high school I was fast. I ran a 4.5 on the track with the laser timers. I was a good baseball player and a very good wrestler. However, I was weaker than any argument remaining that Joe Biden is a coherent human being. Unlike senility, there are numerous cures for abject weakness. The hardest cure is hard work. Time in the weight room, a proper diet and developing technique that prevents injury is hard and time consuming. The second hardest cure is owning a family farm. Throwing bales and steers all day becomes a way of life and it also turns you into a hoss. The easy route is PEDs.
I wanted to wrestle at a D1 school. I was recruited by a few and should have left the state to do so. Instead, I stayed at Mizzou to try and make the team because I loved the coach and the system. I knew I was too small my freshman year. I worked out a lot. My bench-press went from 185 barely breaking my body weight to 330 by the end of my freshman year. My squat was over 400. Then I blew a hernia, and I was done with no shot of wrestling any time soon with a surgery impending.
I tell this story because I am fully content with the outcome knowing I did everything I could to get to where I wanted to be……everything except cheat.
Yesterday our esteemed pundit Buddy espoused a belief that PEDs in baseball wasn’t really cheating but simply an attempt to be the best. Was Martha Stewart not cheating when she committed insider trading? Was Milli Vanilli not cheating when they used someone else’s music? Was deflating footballs and filming private practices of your opponents in secret not cheating? Was #Mercedes circumventing FIA rules over the past decade to win seven F1 championships not cheating? Or has society become jaded to the point of sacrificing any semblance of moral judgement at the detriment of society itself?
Barry Bonds’ numbers before he juiced were Hall of Fame numbers. Roger Clemens likely would have been the same way. Their omission is symbolic as we all know they were Hall of Famers without the juice. Symbols good and bad exist so that future generations may teach through parables.
I’ll never forget being at the HS state wrestling tournament my sophomore year and watching one of my coaches laughing at two entire teams that came in the arena. They were obviously juiced. My coach, between cackles, lamented to us, “See those F**ck*rs? Their d*cks won’t work right by the time they get a chance to use them on a woman and not each other.” He then continued, ”I bet they are stealing their sister’s birth control to balance out their estrogen.” He finished sarcastically with, “Oh well, when they are all living in a trailer or prison in twenty years, at least they can say they were tough back in the day.”
I was blessed to have good leadership in my life early on. Many weren’t. I later went to college with numerous high school athletes that were addicted to ‘roids because they were handed out like chick-lets to kids on the football, wrestling, basketball, baseball, and track teams. Their lives became sad shells of what they could have been if they didn’t have serious mental and physical health issues… simply because they wanted to be the best.
I want to say a personal thank you to the Baseball Writers of America. The BWA leaving Bonds and Clemens out of Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame is proof that we still have hope for a fair and just world, in and out of sport wherein integrity is paramount.
Speaking of hope, come back tomorrow for Short Matt, who hopes nobody finds out that he has been corking his bat for 28 seasons with the Harlem Shaskys.