May 5, 2004
steroid issue goes beyond testing
schools are now the target of legislation, sponsored by
California State Senator, Jackie Speier, Democrat-San
Francisco, addressing the need for the testing for steroid
use and performance-enhancing drug abuse. What does this
situation say about the integrity of high school coaching?
up in the Midwest in the 1950s, when my father asked me
to do chores he'd remind me that a diligent effort
was the best pathway to rewards and recognition. He seemed
to know that like many young people, I too, really had
hoped to find success (in this case, a few dollars of
my allowance) ahead of completing chores.
you really cannot find success before work in real life.
in life it became clear to me, and lots of other people,
that there are no legitimate shortcuts to quality, integrity,
relationships or world-class performance.
Our society has often sought and accepted easy answers
to complex questions, offered superficial responses to
heartfelt needs and turned to performance-enhancing drugs
instead of rigorous training.
that became bumper sticker, culture-confirming philosophies
include: "Winning isn't everything, it's
the only thing;" "Those who die with the most
toys win," "Nice guys finish last" and
"It's not what you know, but who you know."
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted using steroids
during his body-building career. Today he says it's
incumbent on parents, coaches and peers to talk with young
people about the best ways to become a star athlete.
society knows the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs,
Schwarzenegger says the best way to reach the top is hard
work, exercise and a balanced lifestyle. In fact, through
a spokeswoman, he said that if he knew then what he knows
today, he would never have used steroids.
be aware that across the United States, high schools are
struggling with steroid abuse and cannot afford to install
costly tests that detect the illegal bodybuilding (really
the issue is not testing. The issue is a society that
wants children to perform so agents, parents, owners and
investors can prosper on the "raw meat" they
seem willing to sacrifice at the altar of celebrity, big
bucks and short-lived glory.
the pressure to win permeates children's sports,
we have lost our moral compass and can claim little progress
since ancient times, when gladiators fought to death to
entertain the rich and powerful.
coaches, teachers, agents, owners: Please, leave our young
people better than you find them. Integrity is what we
need to provide.
need it, now. Laws, however well intentioned, will never
take the place of responsible adult leadership.