Sports no place for steroids

"One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 men preaching it ... One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 100 teaching it." - Knute Rockne

Drugs in sports - including steroids - are obviously nothing new. Pain killers go way back and even steroids have been known to exist in international competition in professional and college circles for years.

By and large, many of these drugs have been lifesavers to people who use them for the purposes for which they were intended. And producing massive athletes who can run at the speed of light was not the intent.

It certainly wasn't what Rockne had in mind when he said, "I've found that prayers work best when you have big players."

While research remains largely inconclusive about long-term steroid use by athletes, members of the medical profession have for some time warned of the potential dangers. Unfortunately, the warnings appear to have fallen on deaf ears because incidents of drug use by athletes only seem to be to growing - right along with the astronomical size and abilities of many athletes.

There are several possible factors to blame. The growing pressures of achieving a certain level of excellence to earn college scholarships, for one. The pressure to do everything possible to produce a winning performance, is another.

Rockne also said, "One loss is good for the soul, too many losses is not good for the coach."

Rockne, who compiled a 105-12-5 record five undefeated teams between 1918-30, also said

Winning is one objective of sports, but not the only one. Nor the most important, and hopefully, the drive to become the best athlete possible is not on track to reach a point where performance enhancing drugs are accepted.

I've always regarded athletics as being an avenue to help steer kids away from trouble - and away from the use of drugs. Now, here are athletes who use drugs to promote the chances of winning and/or earning a lucrative professional contract or college scholarship. To me, this defeats the principals of athletic competition.

Athletes who use these types of drugs are out-and-out cheaters. Furthermore, anyone who condones the use of drugs - or looks the other way when suspicions arise - are no better. If there ever comes a point and time when this type of situation becomes acceptable, then, in my view, the time has come to take interscholastic sports out of the public schools system.

As Knute Rockne said, "I don't want anybody going out there to die for dear old Notre Dame. Hell, I want you fighting to stay alive."

Dave Price is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal

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