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Faster, Higher, Stronger: Steroids To The Rescue!

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


As you read this, Barry Bonds will have probably broken Hank Aaronís homerun record. A lot of people seem upset about this, because they think Bonds used steroids to get to where he his now. Bonds himself has never publicly admitted to taking steroids. However, his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in prison for refusing to testify against him during the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury investigation.

A lot of people think Bonds has cheated his way to Aaronís record. Iím not too terribly interested in sports, so it doesnít matter much to me. But part of it makes me sad. Were the great athletes of the past so great that no one in the future will be able to surpass them without help?

One sport I do sorta pay attention to is horse racing. There are some great horses running today, but Iím still confused as to why we havenít had a Triple Crown winner in 30 years now. The Triple Crown, for those of you not into horse racing, includes winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont. Bear in mind the horses running these races are three years old. The great Man ĎO War didnít run the Kentucky Derby (even though he probably would have won it) because his owner thought racing a three year old a mile and a quarter the first Saturday in May was asking a bit much. Running three major races in six weeksí time is grueling. Plus, these horses arenít quite fully matured, so youíre asking a very young horse to run hard on legs that are fragile to begin with and tend to stay that way. If you really look at a horseís legs, you begin to wonder how they can possibly support the rest of the animal.

So I was floored to find out Rags to Riches, a filly, won the Belmont. To ask a colt to go a mile and a half is one thing, but a filly? Still, she won it and became the first filly to win that race in a hundred years. Kudos to her.

But it brings me back to the whole amazing feats of athletics thing. I took steroids a few years ago, but it wasnít to hit homeruns or swim faster. Something weird was going on in my left eye, and my eye doctor diagnosed the problem. It would get better, but she recommended three days of liquid steroids. Four times a day I went to Parkviewís emergency room to get my treatment. With steroids, you canít just stop taking them or you crash, mentally and physically. After my IV treatment, my doctor prescribed steroids in pill form with the instructions that I gradually taper off. As a result, May 2003 was one of the happiest times in my adult life. I had energy to spare, and nothing brought me down. Not even the fact that I was facing a $4,000 hospital bill. (I did get a 20 percent discount for my MRI scan, because I used my credit card, but thatís another story.)

I had some strange side effects though. Nothing tasted the same. Things that were sweet didnít taste as sweet as I remembered them, and instead of accepting that fact, Iíd eat another Twinkie in hopes that the second one would taste as sweet as it should be. If the second Twinkie wasnít good, Iíd switch to M & Mís. Or Iíd go the salt route and eat chips or French fries. Whatever I ate, it was as if something had turned down the volume on my taste buds. Not surprisingly, I gained weight. And I was sweating a lot. But damn, I was okay with that too.

Plus, Iíd have these rambling, racing thoughts. Sometimes, it went like this: ďGee, I think Iíll have a Twinkie. I have Twinkies at home but Iím near the Hostess Outlet Store Iíll pick up another box and maybe some Ho Ho's as well and they sell that good cheese popcorn here and Iíll get some Pepsi while Iím at it and on the way home Iíll get some fries to go and a large Coke because Iím thirsty.Ē Imagine a month of these thoughts and eating patterns. You end up happy, fat and manic.

So if Bonds does take steroids, I canít say that I blame him. But I canít say that heís doing the right thing, either. My steroids were legal and prescribed to me in order to help my eyesight. Athletes who take them are admitting they arenít good enough to make their dreams come true on their own. But can we blame them? In todayís society, taking pills to make it all better is standard operating procedure. And in a culture where winning is everything, we shouldnít be surprised if athletes employ ďhelpers.Ē After all, being paid $50 million dollars to play a sport means thereís a lot of pressure on you. You have to produce. You have to convince everyone youíre worth that money.

Even if you need to take steroids to do it.

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