Was it worth it?
I have never watched the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”
I know, I'm out of touch with mainstream America. Anyone's cult heroes who are Guy Fieri and Barney Fife probably shouldn't be given literary license, but this is America.
Back to Oprah, she had Lance Armstrong on to confess his use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. Don't think I watched, but I'll just comment like the layman I am on PEDs.
Lance Armstrong is not alone this month. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were denied admittance into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I guess the past has caught up with them.
I remember Barry Bonds as a thin left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Good fielder, good arm, and could hit 35 home runs a year. What most of us will remember is a mountain of a ball player with a short stroke and a light bat who could launch a baseball 500 feet at will.
Roger Clemens, the phenomenon from the University of Texas, had a live fastball and a devastating breaking ball that struck batters out at will. What most of us will remember is the man in the three-piece suit who was in and out of court denying his use of PEDs.
Lance Armstrong, what an American name, what an American hero — overcoming cancer to win the Tour De France seven times. Lance, do you realize how many Americans followed a foreign sport just to watch you? I now know what a “mountain stage” is in cycling. If it weren't for you, the only cycling I would see is a ten bike crash on ESPN.
I wish I could give you a breakdown on PEDs but I can't. If you're interested, ask your doctor or research the Internet. I know, I coached for almost forty years, I should be well aware of PEDs used by kids. To be honest with you, I worried more about the kids who didn't have enough money for cleats or sneakers, and I spent my time begging kids to lift weights. My mistake.
Ninety-nine and nine-tenths of you readers never used PEDs. You loved the sports you played and did your best. You enhance your accomplishments but always cherished what you did. You idolized your heroes, but realized that they are human beings with frailties.
It's got to be tough for someone like Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter. Pretty squeaky clean in a world that looks for dirt. I know it's tougher to be a role model today. My goodness, the temptations high priced athletes face on a daily basis is beyond my comprehension.
I'm glad I don't have to strip Lance Armstrong of his titles, or deny Barry, Roger and Sammy their inductions to the Hall of Fame.
I guess we can just have Oprah to ask, “was it worth it?”
John Blabe is the former athletic director and football coach at Antelope Union High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.