Before I truly go into the meat and potatoes of this Fanpost, let me get a quick disclaimer, I am in no way trying to condone or condemn the usage of PED's in professional athletics. I have no interest in making this about whether or not I think testing should improve, or even get into a discussion on athletes who have tested positive, so if you want to read an article on how to fix the PED usage problem present in professional sports, you're reading the wrong piece. I'm looking deeper into it than what you can see at on the surface. It seems like everyday I hear older people talking about the problem with my generation. "Young people nowadays don't want to earn anything, they want to be given things." Or something along those lines; and for the most part, I have to agree. The kids I'm friends with, go to school with, work with etc. always seem to think that they are entitled to success. We're the era of "give me", and with all of the nonsense in professional sports in general right now it seems to me I have found a major cause of the problem, and the hope that the next generation will be different looks bleak.
As a kid I remember watching Michael Jordan, I remember watching Roy Jones jr. knock someone out with his hands behind his back, the moment that drew me to boxing. These guys were my heroes, they were incredible I remember watching in awe as they did things no one else could do, even at a young age children know when they are experiencing greatness. I remember asking my father things like "How did they get so good?" and getting answered "Hard work son, they practice all the time." This made me want to practice so that one day I could be great, I spent hours outside shooting hoops, eventually hours on the heavy bag and doing roadwork. I wanted to work hard, I wanted to practice it was never a chore, but something happened that made the idea of practicing seem like a bad thing. PED usage began to come to light. More and more star Athletes in every major sport (Baseball, Football, the Olympics, eventually Football and the problem is currently culminating in Professional Boxing) began to test positive. People like Mark Mcquire, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Roy Jones eventually all tested positive, and because they were so far ahead of the pack, because they were the face of their collective sports, people felt lied to and witch hunts to find players who were "Cheating" began and eventually it came to light almost every professional athlete in any given sport was "Cheating". Maybe the older generations talk about it so much because they feel that the purity of professional sports is gone, maybe the arguments happen because people no longer believe that someone can truly be great or dominant without help from performance enhancers, but either way something happened as more and more of these stories came to light that was so damaging to young people that I feel its worth talking about.
We became the PED generation, we saw people who were truly special when we were kids, we looked up to them, we pretended to be them when we played outside, we bought every piece of merchandise we could that our heroes endorsed only to find out from older people that they were "cheating." Now, as a kid we learn that the word cheating means to do something to win instead of working hard for it, so when a kid finds out that one of their heroes "cheated" they think they just took steroids and became great, all the time spent practicing their sport is discredited. Why do you think that there are so many people who decide they want to get bigger, stronger, faster, or whatever nowadays and the first thing they do is head to GNC and buy supplements like Creotene or Animal Packs then go to the gym and skip reps or stop short of the line in wind sprints and wonder why they aren't getting bigger, stronger, faster, whatever? Because everything we see on ESPN or any sport article/analysis has taught us that all you have to do to get better at something is take a PED. It correlates to our entire life, now instead of learning something to earn a grade we go to the back of the book to find the answers or we dream of doing something but instead of going out and working at our dream everyday we just expect it to happen. So many people forget that these Athletes still put in the work to get to where they are that we just assume success just happens, and as a result we decide success is just going to happen to us. It's one of the saddest realizations I've had about my friends and colleagues, but it's followed by the realization that if success is given it isn't success, you're never as happy when something is given to ou as you are when you've earned it, so people are more unhappy with themselves in general.
Now, like I said before I am not arguing my opinion on PED usage in Professional sports, I'm simply trying to say that the way these stories are handled do change the mindset of people, children especially and it translates into real life. It shouldn't be a surprise, every kid wants to be Tom Brady or Lebron James or Ray Lewis one day, and they very well could be if they learn to practice all the time at it, but the more kids see their heroes in PED scandals, the more they begin to think that because they used a banned substance that means they never practiced, they never finished a full set, they think they can just become successful. People wonder why young adults waste opportunities to better themselves, and to a certain extent, they need to look at themselves. If you have kids, explain to them that practice is the only way to get better, tell them they can be great at something if they work at it, otherwise the world is going to teach them they don't have to. We forget that we as adult fans were once kids in the yard pretending to be Brett Favre or Michael Jordan while we were shooting around or Sugar Ray Leonard when we were sparring (if you boxed at a young age like myself) and we don't realize the impact we truly have on the generations below us. If nothing changes, I'll be the one asking why the young people of tomorrow are so lazy, ungrateful, or unwilling to go out and work for something when I'm 50. I sincerely hope that's not the case, I want to look around and be able to say the future looks bright, but something has to be done or else their is little hope for our future. Not to be too depressing haha Rant over.