We all behave like A-Rod

Bo Gemmell

Despite all the newsworthy events this month, something meaningless seems to dominate the headlines.

Even I, as someone with no interest in baseball and little interest in news, can’t stop hearing about Alex Rodriguez. The third-baseman admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003.

Major League Baseball players agreed to take a drug test on the condition of anonymity in 2003 so the league could determine whether enough players used banned substances to warrant mandatory testing.

Rodriguez, along with more than 100 players, tested positive for banned substances. But remember the whole anonymity thing? That means that Rodriguez’s results are none of our business. Nevertheless, Rodriguez’s privacy was violated and Sports Illustrated reported his confidential results last week – more than half a decade after his steroid use.

Instead of criticizing A-Rod, I need to make a confession of my own. Today, as with every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’m going to go home and prepare a high dose of a powerful central nervous system stimulant and go to the Rec Center. The performance-enhancing drug I’ll consume will turn my eight pull-ups into 12 and my 10 laps of breast stroke into 15.

In fact, I’ll use this psychoactive substance to cheat my way through morning shifts at work on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as well. My employer will provide the drug.

My performance enhancing drug of choice is called caffeine. I prefer to get mine from tea, but a nice cup of coffee will deliver an even stronger buzz.

So maybe a little coffee isn’t that dangerous compared to A-Rod’s testosterone and Primobolan, and it surely isn’t illegal. Caffeine won’t make breasts sprout from my body or cover my face with pimples, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still using it for personal gain.

Before bashing Rodriguez, people should consider the performance-enhancing drugs they use. I doubt I’m the only person exploiting caffeine, but how about other drugs? Some college students don’t seem to have a problem abusing amphetamine, the prescription drug used to treat ADHD, to stay up all night and cram for finals.

Don’t forget the alcohol buzz that some claim improves beer pong performance. Alcohol is the perfect sedative drug to improve shooting accuracy, and it takes a much heavier toll on society than A-Rod’s goods.

I don’t condone Rodriguez’s steroid use. It’s a shame that he and the other players – don’t forget that he wasn’t the only person to ever juice – would disappoint their fans by breaking the rules. But let’s put this event in context of other news events to determine its importance.

General Motors announced more layoffs. That’s pretty bad. A teething formula tainted with engine antifreeze killed at least 84 babies in Nigeria. That’s bad, too. At least some of the bushfires that decimated southeastern Australia last week were intentionally lit. That’s horrific.

A professional baseball player admitted to using drugs for personal gain six years ago. That’s inappropriate, but not newsworthy. Most of us behave the same way without even acknowledging it.

Bo Gemmell is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].