BIG news (no pun intended) yesterday out of the Barry-Bonds-upcoming-trial-for-"perjury" camp. The judge in the case unsealed the evidence that the prosecutors had accumulated against the slugger, thereby uncovering a substantial quantity of proof indicating that...
... drumroll please...
Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs.
Ok, so this piece of news doesn't exactly qualify as ground-shaking. But you know what does surprise me and has surprised me since we began to hear some of the more intimate details of the Clemens investigation?
I was never surprised that professional athletes took drugs. I think every Canadian that remembers the Olympics in Seoul and the positive drug test that took down Ben Johnson developed a veil of cynicism about athletes and performance enhancement. But until the last couple of years, the Mitchell Report, Clemens and Bonds, I had no idea how... disgusting the whole business is. I'm not sure how many more stories about injection sites, side effects, dirty medical practice, syringes etc. I can stomach. I mean... EWWWWW.
How does anybody with a sound mind look ahead to all the vast and miserable downsides of a career dependent on chemicals and think that those downsides don't outweight the one positive, that you might enjoy one or two moments of glory before the whole thing comes crashing down around you? And of course the answer is that anybody with a sound mind sees the picture for what it is; it is those with unsound, or perhaps, undeveloped minds that are the targets of those who are invested in this business. And this group, sadly, often includes young athletes.
So, of course, there is considerable burden on parents, coaches and teachers of young athletes to send hard and strong messages about PEDs, to monitor young athlete activity, to be aware of who else is targetting young athletes and to remind athletes that that moment of glory so sought after by people like Bonds is achievable on a different path than the one he chose. If those parents, coaches and teachers are looking for effective messaging, I suggest starting with Bond's trainer's description of injection site cysts, as found in the article above.
Excuse me whilst I gag.