Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Barry Bonds Phenomenon

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is phenomenon, specifically what sort of things make other people excited that just don't get you all worked up. Mine is rather a guilty secret: I don't hate or revile Barry Bonds. If he breaks Hank Aaron's hitting record, I'll watch it on television. I'll probably think about what it takes to hit so many pitches in the major league. I'll listen to commentators indignantly announce that Bond's accomplishment is sullied by allegations that he used steroids. And then I'll change the channel.

I won't wring my hands and note the shame of Bonds using steroids to enhance his already phenomenal hitting power. I'm pretty sure that Bonds has used perfromance enhancement drugs. I think it's a shame, especially because he was a talented athlete without the enhancement. But I won't rant that the record must have an asterisk to note that he's a steroid user.

And it's not because I don't care. I don't think that athletes should use performance enhancement drugs. But I'm not surprised when people do so and I can hardly blame them. The fame and the money and the power generated by physical prowess; by a talent randomly handed to you by god, must sometimes be overwhelming. The combination of physical and mental strength required to be a good athlete is a rare one; hard to sustain over the years. How can we be surprised that some people look for a quicker road to athletic success?

In the end, whether he used drugs or not, Barry Bonds is an impressive athlete. One day, long after he's hit his last major league ball, he'll look in the mirror and have to answer his conscience. That's good enough for me.


JAXTER said...

Coming out of the closet on this one - I completely agree and it is was great to read it articulated so well. I think his reflection in the mirror ultimately will be a very high price to pay.

gautami tripathy said...

Drugs has taken over the sports arena. That is one sad fact which needs to be pondered over.

Paul said...

We also need to consider that the pressure to perform from the public. Nobody appreciates the fourth, fifth, etc. placed people. We only want winners. The losers - ie. those who were only the fourth best in the world - we forget.

I think drugs in sport are a shame but I do understand the pressures.