Enhanced Performance

In my late-20s, for a little less than a year, I flirted with performance enhancing drugs; not HGH, steroids or anything like that, but the stuff you could get from those shops that are always right outside of chain gyms (the ones usually with ‘muscle’ and/or ‘nutrition’ in their titles). Even though what I was taking were like Skittles compared to what the big boys were droppin’ an’ shootin’ I did notice an ‘enhancement’ to my workout routines and subsequent play on the court. In the gym I could heavy-rep heavy weight and on the basketball court I was able to just ‘do shit,’ like go from thinking ‘I’m gonna tomahawk dunk over that guy’ to tomahawk dunking over that guy. This was stuff I could do before, but not this ‘professionally.’ Everything felt ‘relatively easier’ than it did before, which was sexy as hell. It felt beyond-good to be warming up before a game knowing I was about to do some ridiculous shit once the ball was tipped, and that the people in the stands were gonna freak the fuck out when I did it. And this was just RECREATIONAL ball (highly competitive, but still just weekend warrior shit). I could ONLY IMAGINE how dick-hardening it would be to pull off that kinda shit on the professional stage. Speaking of which…

There is a LOT on the line for these athletes. Pride, legacy, money, family stability (not just nuclear, but WAY extended). The average work-a-day stiff who is leading a life he fucking hates doesn’t quite understand this1. And there is something that kinda bugs me about how these bitter fucks—following an athlete getting popped—act like it was the drugs that ‘made’ the guy a superior athlete. Like their armchair-quarterbacking asses were an HGH cycle away from sports superstardom themselves. I’m not ‘condoning’ PEDs, but I understand why guys use them. I also think it’s one of those things that the public is mystified by, but those in the know treat like just another part of the game (sorry, I meant ‘job’; like a ‘no matter how mundanely back-breaking yours is and how insultingly underpaid you are for it, being a pro athlete can—surprisingly—feel the same damn way’ j-o-b); no different than ankle tape. (How dope was the ‘boot’ ankle tape in those early aughts EA college football joints?) Also—as we saw during baseball’s big bat era—some guys use this stuff to level the playing field…

Imagine having a teammate who—just one season before—was sittin’ the bench during home games and sittin’ at home during away games, but is now averaging 22 and 11, gettin’ endorsement deals, mainstream media attention, invites to celebrity-hosted club events and sleeping with pretty ethnically ambiguous girls with shapely behinds; all while working a contract renegotiation that’s gonna add a few more zeros to his back account. Imagine knowing EXACTLY what he ‘took’ between this season and the last to achieve this. Imagine being in the same situation he was in last season THIS season! What would YOU do?

1. Although I said working ‘stiffs’ don’t ‘get’ this, they actually do. Quite a few of ’em pop little blue pills to ‘enhance’ their performance, and if they were to ever be banned by the FDA you know damn well their asses would STILL find a way to get their hands on ’em. This just goes to show you how much their feelings of inadequacy and jealousy influence their opinions of these guys (who they quietly feel inferior to). Not saying ALL sports fans are like this. There are a lot of fans (and athletes) who LEGITIMATELY feel the integrity of the game is being tarnished by this stuff, but when you think about it: is it the ‘stuff’ or the culture that created it that’s the ‘real’ problem? Our celebrity-worshiping, pedestal-propping, love-’em-when-they-rise-damn-’em-when-they-fall culture to be exact.


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