I think that athletes who can set world records despite smoking pot should get an extra medal or something. Marijuana is NOT a performance-enhancing drug. Unlike Steroids, which possess the potential to turn good athletes into super jocks, pot makes one want to veg out, eat really bad but tasty food and watch TV with the sound off and music playing, captivated by how well they sync up. Pot is not the drug of choice for those who want to set world records in anything, unless it’s perhaps how many creme sticks one can ingest without puking.
So for Michael Phelps to be compared with A-Rod is outrageous. A-Rod took drugs to gain unfair advantage by increasing his performance.
I suggest we honor Michael Phelps for being able to–by virtue of raw talent, dedication to his sport, effective training and uncommon physical gifts–excel at a sport DESPITE being human, young, impetuous and rejecting the hypocrisy that criminalizes recreational use of a substance far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
Professional athletes are so overpaid, I wonder why we tune in week after week to watch these admittedly superior physical specimens compete for their millions. It’s some kind of vicarious fascination. I suppose it’s more interesting than watching a really good electrician or bus driver do their jobs for several hours as we eat chips, drink beer and nap…unless the bus driver works somewhere we’ve never been.
I think football, for instance, would be much more exciting and unpredictable if spectators shot paint balls at players in the heat of competition. The athletes are well-protected and such a practice by well-organized fans could be a real “game-changer.” Try to imagine the visual impact. Well- placed paint balls could undermine the best team effort and truly put fans in the game. The mere thought of it makes me quiver with ambivalence.
Another version allows all substances. Proprietary “cocktails” to enhance performance would be encouraged. Physical effects of substance abuse could become a factor. Play as you are. Players would exercise reckless abandon. Play would no doubt become more violent. Of course, rules would need to “relax”.
For the pay these guys get, they ought to be willing to abide side-effects wrought by unbridled use of performance-enhancing compounds:
“Roid rage,” shrunken nads, man-boobs, whatever comes with the territory. When everyone can do anything, all bets are off.
Another option I’ve fantasized about is tennis with snipers. Spectators would be limited to firing rubber bullets and players would wear appropriate protection. But just think about how much more interesting Wimbledon would be. That’s entertainment!
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of all the drug-in-sports controversies. If an athlete could manage to be superior despite being a chain smoker or an alcoholic, there would be no outrage. But because the substances in question in these cases are “controlled,” they become “scandals”.
Screw the stats. Forget the asterisks. Sports are simply not as important as the world makes them. If an athlete gains an edge by having a morphine enema before competing, I say, “Mazal tov”. These guys ain’t gods.