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Dopes, doping up, and dopes that sensationalize the dopers.

Monday, August 07, 2006
So Floyd Landis is now proven guilty. I won't beat around the bush and say things like "allegedly", or "not until he admits his guilt", or other pretty words or phrases to sound politically correct. This little op-ed I am writing out today isn't about the semantics of how I refer to Landis, his positive tests, and the ensuing crumbling of credibility any time ol' Biker Boy opens his mouth and talks about how he drank some whiskey which had been laced with synthetic testosterone while his masseuse rubbed natural testosterone into his inner thighs while taking his testosterone-laced hip medicine via direct injections just 5 minutes before leaving the bar where he was drinking said whiskey and going on to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France.

(Wow. I think I went a little overboard there.)

With that out of the way, the real focus of my gripe is the way that everyone's favorite "mainstream" editorialists and sports reporters are seeming to all but bemoan how thanks to Landis, now we can never dream. We can never believe. We must always doubt every miracle comeback or amazing show of athletic prowess. In short, "God is dead."

I'd just like to take this moment to say I think Jay Mariotti deserves to be decked with a puck to his thick head, since he's one of the people who has been ranting and raving like this all of last week and from when Landis first tested positive.

It pisses me off. It annoys me. It agitates me that because some Joe Average in a sport that is notorious for doping is caught red handed, that means that every other sport is dirty on the level of the Tour de France. Does every sport have its dopers? Of course it does. No one believes the bull that the NHL threw out to the public when it said that not a single player tested positive this past season (Bryan Berard and his non-NHL test excluded), and most everyone knows that Jose Canseco could all but drag Major League Baseball through the mud several times over with the inside information he has yet to talk about (and has already talked about as well).

Maybe I'm just ignorant, though. Maybe I am just naively optimistic and totally off when I say that the Tour de France isn't the standard for the popular sports here in North America. Do I have my doubts at times? Sure, of course I do. But to tell me that we may as well start questioning every little "odd" happening in sports doesn't rub me the right way.

In short? Enjoy the damn game. If someone gets beat with the suspension stick for cheating, then we know they cheated. But until then, keep on being wow'ed and amazed by some of the more spectacular plays and shocking shows of athletic prowess without a second thought. Hockey -- Hell, all sports -- are more enjoyable when you don't agonize over things like that while you watch them.
  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Herringbone said…

    Here here Mikey...

    I totally agree with you on this one. Remember when following sports used to be fun?

  • At 9:40 AM, Blogger Drew said…

    I think following sports (per se) is still fun. The problem is (may the sports gods not smite me for suggesting) that we have multiple 24-hour television options, the internet and it's plethora of info, and sports radio.

    There are only so many games you can show in a day (and that's what really matters, right?). So the rest of the time is spent unearthing the "story behind the story". Too often anymore, we're more concerned over who dopes, beats his wife, cheats, drinks, (you name it) than who wins the game. When you're young, the magic of the game supercedes anything else. As we mature and the magic wears off, other things creep in.

    Does it suck that the non-game related bad crap goes on, yes. Does it mean that (insert sport of choice) should be any less interesting to you?

    Not for me it doesn't.

    Kudos to Michael for hitting on a subject that I think is an incredibly in-depth and touchy one. I'd be interested to hear others' take on why they follow sports.

    Some get into the stats, some do the fantasy thing, some people are able to overlook it all and still be awed by the game...

    What's in it for you?

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Michael Turner said…

    Being awed by the game, no doubt.

    I am average with stats ... and I admittedly have never touched a fantasy sport of any kind. To me, hockey is what I love because it is the sport that I find the most exciting, most thrilling, and that I intend to build a life around.

    Now that might sound a little crazy, I admit ... but I am majoring in Sports & Leisure, and will be declaring that major when I start at OSU in January once my Associates is out of the way. Even if I never make it beyond some low-level, paper pushing job with an AHL or USHL team, I just want to be a part of the sport I enjoy since I can't play it.

    But regardless of that, I completely understand the need for coverage of things such as this, especially when a season is over, or there's a lull in sports content on the field or on the ice. And steroids, after all, is a serious issue.

    What bothers me, however, is when we take something and try to sensationalize it. What happened with Operation Slapshot, for example? Yeah, Tocchet was hit hard and looks to be heading for the big house ... but in the end, it had nothing to do with Gretzky, or any sort of illegal activity with fixing games in the NHL (much to the chagrin of ESPN and major media outlets looking for a story and something to maliciously latch on to, it seemed).

    But sensationalizing and driving things deep into the ground is what the media does best, I guess. Just something one needs to get used to, even if it gets annoying.

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Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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