A long time ago I founded a teaching society that focused on discussions of various topics. This particular topic lived on the list (nearly 7,000 people at the time) for over 6 months.
It is “the ethics of sports” or the value of sports or do we need sports. I love watching football, baseball, basketball and other sports. I bleed cubby blue. But the current steroid issue in baseball bothers me.
Am I naive in believing that athletes are taught by someone? That some coach spent hours of time help that athlete become better at what it is they do?
I was a coach once, 20 years ago. They don’t get paid much (outside of the colleges and even then look at the money they bring into the universities). In fact most coaches (and most teachers as a whole) do what they do for the love what they do.
So some coach at the high school, AAU or other place taught these kids how to play baseball. Not how to inject steroids. Not I hope to win at any cost.
The thing is, athletics does a lot to create a community. I have followed loyally Indiana University athletics for over 40 years now. I sat in the stands as a young child and watch Mark Spitz swim. I watched the 1976 Indiana University team go 32-0.
I idolized the coach, the team and the players. They showed what was best about college athletics – they graduated (Mark Spitz has a dental degree). They were student athletes in the best sense of what it meant to be a student athlete.
And suddenly that happy memory is gone.
Athletics in the past 10 years has taken my love and wasted it.
So go ahead and use any performance enhancing drug you want. I won’t be in the stands. My children won’t be in the stands. Sure, I will enjoy the game on TV, but I won’t root for the professional teams they way I used to.
I will go back to rooting for Indiana University athletics. At least we have a new basketball coach that is a future super star.