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What's happening to sports?

I’m a more than avid fan of sports. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I fell in love with sports, or the moment that love turned into obsession. Regardless, I’m well aware of the fact that this love and obsession exists and has exsisted for the majority of my life.

I’m fairly certain that I was able to read box scores with more ease than any reading assignment in the first grade. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing or just spectating, sports fill a void for me like nothing else possibly can. There is just something about it, I can’t necessarily explain it, but if there was ever a way to describe pure, untainted love for anything that would be the exact way to describe the way I feel about sports.

However, something is changing that.

I was just watching ESPN recently and saw that professional golfer Doug Barron tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and will be suspended for a year. I sat in awe and sincere disgust when I saw this story. Steroids have become such an epidemic that even golfers have resorted to using them to get to the top.

What’s worse is that Barron is only being suspended for a year. What kind of message does this send? Using steroids or any other type of banned performance enhancing drug is in simplest terms, cheating.

Players can give a laundry list of reasons on why they took the substance or the famous “I didn’t know that the substance I was taking was illegal” speech, but these athletes are beginning to run out of excuses that we haven’t heard. It’s getting old.

I love sports because sports alone is something that is untainted from the outside world. There are enough problems on this earth and none of those matter in sports. it is just a competition among athletes. It tests everything about a persons will, desire, strength (mentally and physically) and teaches us teamwork along other practical ideas we use in everyday life. What does it say when we continually allow these cheaters to get by with a slap on the wrist? We are so quick to allow athletes be role models to children but nobody is taking a stand against cheaters.

From the Olympics to every “major” sport in America, we have seen professionals get caught cheating and hit with a fine or suspension. Most major suspensions do not take place until after a second or third time someone tests positive. In comparison to many of these athletes’ salaries; fines make taking the steroid worth it. These players earn millions of dollars and will not have to pay a dime if they don’t get caught, but if they do they only have to pay in the thousands of dollars.

Records are becoming questionable, and its getting to the point where when anyone sticks out in a major sport the integrity of that person is in question. Steroids are ruining sports. We are not helping either. Sports are now all about big business. Steroids help these people become superstars and the superstars bring in all the money. So there is no incentive to enforce a much more harsh penalty to offenders.

If there is to be any real change, it has to start coming from the fan base. We idolize athletes and continually allow them to let us down with steroids, behavioral issues, or any other act of stupidity these people make these days. What’s worse is we continually allow them to get away with it.

Start thinking back to why you enjoy sports so much, think back to when you were a kid and why you played sports. You left everything you had on the field, and when you won, there was a genuine feeling of happiness. Winning by cheating just does not generate that same happy feeling as it does the honest way.

I know I’m not the only one who was taught “Cheaters never win.” Right now they are because we let them. By supporting teams and leagues that allow these cheaters to still make millions and manipulate those who cheer them on, we are sending the wrong message. Remember, without fans these leagues could not exist. They would not make money.

Am I saying stop watching sports and supporting teams? No, of course not, it’s not practical. More can be done on our part, it’s up to us to help find ways to let upper level people in each league to let them know we’re tired of it. These athletes make millions upon millions of dollars that many of us would love to do for free and they take advantage of us.

Why not do something to let them know how you feel, join a petition, write an email (in good taste) but instead of sitting back and complaining, do something to help make sports pure again, before we lose something truly amazing.