Stumped by steroids, I wonder why?

Published on June 10, 2014
Cory Hurley
The Western Star

What makes a local athlete decide he or she is going to take steroids?

There are all kinds of pressures for professional athletes to get juiced — fame and fortune, fan criticism, expectations, recovery from injuries. But, there’s no millions to be made at Jubilee Field or the Pepsi Centre. No scouts are camped out at Wellington. Fans are family and friends, who for the most part would rather see them healthy and safe.

You hear here and there about this person or that person using, but it is not typical sports conversation in local circles. I have heard it quite a bit lately, maybe it’s the change of scenery. It wasn’t like it was being offered up or anything, just the talk about this one and that one.

I have never really had much of an opinion on the subject, other than the national and international scandals that have surfaced over the years. I had never blamed professional athletes, especially baseball players, who used during the times when their leagues had not banned the substances. I think it is the commissioners of the time who should be wiped from the record books, not the players who are said to have “cheated.”

But again, all that doesn’t come into play here in Corner Brook. There is no drug testing. There are no contracts. Heck, there isn’t even any opposition to steroid use from the other players that I hear. There is no talk of banning certain players and there are no asterisks on certain player’s names at www.cbbaseball.ca. The local media are not hounding the leagues for stiffer penalties or a list of those using.

So, I believe it is mostly just a personal attempt at improving one’s physique. The benefits on the local diamond or ice is just an added bonus. No way is the recognition of one’s name in the newspaper a couple of times a week incentive enough to get juiced, is it?

I have known for years of many people who took steroids to bulk up or add muscle. It is widely recognized that they become “obsessed” with their bodies. In the gym pumping iron constantly in an attempt to impress themselves or somebody else. Their bodies are transformed from the regular Joe to the professional wrestler variety in just about no time at all. I have seen guys who I have hardly recognized just months after the last time seeing them. I always thought, “oh well, their choice.” I still do, I guess. I certainly don’t care about playing sports against somebody on steroids or not.

I was at a local health store recently, when a 12-year-old kid came in with his mother. They scoured the shelves for a while before his mother placed a large bottle of something on the counter, paid for it, and the boy carried it out of the store. I don’t even know enough about what was bought to be able to say what it was. A few jokes were exchanged between the mother and the attendant about how he was looking to impress the girls.

It just didn’t sit well with me. I brought up the exchange with a few people, and they agreed. One even made the point of saying, where will it lead? An obvious reference to steroids. I’m sure the over the counter stuff that was bought was perfectly fine. I wonder if it was something recommended for children, but I really don’t know enough to comment specifically. But, yeah, it just didn’t sit right with me.

There is a significant downside to steroid use that is well documented and recognized. There are harsh health risks and a change in one’s appearance and attitude. There are many cases of deaths or violence linked to “roid rage,” and many people say they have seen people turn angry and/or depressed. Is it all worth it, even to have people marvel over your physique? Maybe it is.

I certainly don’t know. I have never had anybody marvel over my physique. I have spent nearly as much time on the moon as I have pumping iron.

It’s an interesting thought if nothing else. I would always certainly rather have my health than be able to flex my pectorals.