If I may be blunt. The headline of this post is as simple as I can put it. Beware of the rant to come. Cheaters of any kind suck. Whether it be in business, sport or personal life, cheating blows chunks. We will focus on cheating in sport as this is a running blog and the last time I checked running counts as a sport.
I have participated in sports since I was 8 years old. Never heard about steroids until high school and never have seen anyone take them nor have I ever been approached to purchase them. I played football in high school, wide receiver mainly and back in 1982 I never really saw the benefit of taking them. The steroid users back then were huge with veins popping out all over, so I didn’t make the connection to running fast, not until Ben Johnson came along.
In my 20’s I played rugby and the thought of using steroids never crossed my mind. I was never going to cheat the game and damage my body in the process. Still in the late 80’s the users were huge grotesque freaks. I was pretty sure I played against some users, but for the most part I was still better than most of them. I was fast enough to avoid getting hit by the really big dudes and smart enough to keep the ball moving in the right direction.
My rugby career ended early due to a knee injury and again I never considered taking steroids to aid in the recovery from knee surgery. Maybe if I had a criminal mind and thought the world owed me something I would have considered cheating, but I quite simply feel that anything worth doing is only worth doing without cheating. Integrity anyone?
When I took up marathons I looked at Lance Armstrong as the ultimate endurance athlete. I read his first 2 books and was a huge fan of his. I had recently lost 2 Aunts to cancer, so his fight and his foundation really touched me. I ran the 2011 Chicago Marathon as part of Team Livestrong and felt a sense of purpose raising money for cancer survivors. Right after running the Fargo Marathon in May of 2011, I saw on the news that some of Lance’s teammates were saying he was a cheater. I didn’t want to believe it. He worked so hard. He had passed all those hundreds of drug tests or so he said. I continued to raise money for Livestrong and hoped with all my heart that the stories were untrue.
Well, we all know now that he cheated and then tried to keep his accusers quiet. Discussing. Lance is no better than an organized crime boss who uses intimidation to keep his sorry ass out on the street and out of jail. People will say he has done so much for cancer survivors and that one part of his existence is noble, but that doesn’t excuse him from being lumped in the category of scumbag cheater.
I am a parent of 2 young boys, one of which has been playing tackle football for the last 3 years. If my sons ever feel like that they need to cheat to be successful, it is my hope that they will walk away from the sport before taking that ill-fated step toward becoming a scumbag cheater. Just like you can’t get a little pregnant, you can’t be just a little cheater. Either you do it the right way or you are a scumbag cheater.
I will step off the soapbox for the night.