The Mitchell Report on drug use in Major League Baseball was released last week and named a staggering seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars as users of performance-enhancing substances.
While the report has ignited a bomb in every dugout in America, only the very naïve will think that this will end baseball’s steroid era. To be blunt, the enforcers are way behind the cheaters when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs.
So what? Does any of this impact the Cayman Islands?
Of course it does.
The typical serious athlete with serious ambitions, here as much as anywhere, now knows two things: (1) performance-enhancing drugs work and (2) a significant number of champion athletes have used them to win. Not all jocks are dumb.
Undoubtedly many local athletes are noticing that Marion Jones, the greatest female track athlete of the last 10 years had to give back all of her Olympic medals after admitting that she took drugs.
The Tour de France, cycling’s greatest event, seems hopelessly trapped under a cloud of suspicion with no clear skies in sight.
Now baseball’s best seem to have been consuming steroids like candy over the last decade. Other sports are sure to generate similar scandals in the future.
Regardless of how comforting the thought is, no society and no sport are immune from this problem. Just wait and see.
Some Caymanian athletes have been tempted and others will be tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs in their quest to win. Yes, they may see track stars and baseball stars disgraced on television and in print and be scared off by the risk of their own personal scandal but competitive sports are inherently risky anyway.
Performing in front of a crowd of people with your country’s name on your chest is no light feat. Just taking the field runs the risk of humiliation and failure.
Using drugs may be just another risk worth taking in the minds of some.
Of more concern than Cayman’s adult athletes who may cheat are the children and teenagers who will consider doing what some of their heroes have done.
This is where good coaches and good parents come in.
Cayman’s sensible adults, in the sports community as well as within individual families, need to talk to young people about this phenomenon that won’t be going away any time soon. Our young athletes need to hear the truth.
Yes, these drugs work and work well, but they can cause serious problems for children and teenagers who are not yet fully developed. No less important, performance-enhancing drugs corrupt what should be a child’s fun and noble stab at sports greatness.
We must teach our young athletes to dream, train hard, perform and live with the results. That’s enough.
The writing is on the wall for Cayman’s adults: pay attention to drug use in sports because it is coming to our shores-if it’s not already here.