The Pathetic, Performance-Enhanced World Of Professional Sports

Every week brings new allegations about professional athletes using performance-enhancing substances and odd treatments for injuries.  This week is no different.  The allegations get made, and the athletes issue denials, and the games go on.  Who’s to know whether that great athletic performance you so admired was the result of hard work, careful training, and focus, or the juice of the root of the exotic zub zub tree?

It’s appropriate that the issue of performance-enhancing drugs was raised this week, because it’s Super Bowl Week — the week of the worst wretched sports excess in an America that is characterized by wretched sports excess.  Want to know why some athletes take performance-enhancing drugs?  Take a look at the outrageous trappings of the Super Bowl, the money-drenched parties, and the adulation poured on the participants, and you’ll have the answer to your question.  If you have a chance to become a household name who will be paid tens of millions of dollars to play a sport, wouldn’t you be tempted to take drugs that might allow you to realize that goal?

I’m heartily sick of American professional sports.  I’m sick of the ludicrous contracts, the players who are all about themselves and not about their teams, the blowhard jock-sniffing owners, the celebrity coaches, the athletes who have become cult figures, the luxury boxes, the mindless endorsements, and just about everything else that has to do with professional sports.  Whatever innocence once existed in sport is long gone, and a sick money culture has taken its place.

This week, I’m going to protest by not watching the Super Bowl.  I’ll watch college sports instead, and try to convince myself that the huge amounts of money floating around student athletes haven’t ruined the college games, too.  I know that my little protest will make no difference, and the Super Bowl will set another viewership record, but I don’t care.  I’ve had it.

Back To The Back

One of our faithful Webner House readers asked me today for an update on my back.  The short answer is:  my back is better, thanks for asking.

After suffering through several agonizing days where I hoped my back would improve on its own, I went to the doctor.  Her examination led her to believe that it was simply a muscle strain, albeit a painful one — which is good news.  She prescribed a few days’ worth of steroids and an anti-inflammatory that I take daily.  I didn’t ask for any pain medication because I don’t like the loopy, lightheaded sensation that it often creates.  The steroids and anti-inflammatories have worked well.  Chalk me up as another satisfied example of the miracle of modern drug therapy!

The only real challenge for me is getting out of bed in the morning.  The automatic rollover and twist motion that I use to put my feet on the floor seems to tweak my lower back worse than any other kind of movement.  I’ve tried to be more cautious, but when you’ve still sleep-addled it’s hard to not engage in the same, routine movement that I’ve done every morning since childhood.

. . . And The Pope Is Catholic, Too

Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids.

As amazing as it is that an acne-riddled, balding, pumped up baseball player could have been taking steroids, it will be even more amazing if organized baseball does something about McGwire’s admission.

Baseball is a joke, and it will be a joke until it actually addresses the substance abuse issues that seem to be lurking behind so many star players.