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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Steroids and Bonds

Barry Bonds and Steroids

Baseball’s Barry Bonds uses steroids, it is said. It is illegal according the law and rules of baseball’s hierarchy. The fans love him and the owners need him. He will be allowed to flout the laws of the state and baseball. His arrogance and silence are the only defenses he chooses to muster. No one is going to hold him accountable for his illegal behavior. Maybe it will be his body, already beginning to rebel as it solidifies and thickens causing damage to ligaments and bones.

Bonds is a super hero to many, and is permitted to live by his own rules. His role model is the present incumbent of the White House. Tell enough lies and disregard the greater good often enough and you will win the hearts of most of the people most of the time. Bond’s age will catch up with him, if nothing else. The incumbent’s term ends in one more years, thank God.

I like many are envious of Bond’s money and fame. We don’t have the natural gifts and talents that make any professional athlete. I certainly do not have the drive and discipline to practice, practice and more practice that is needed to refine the natural talents that most professional athletes possess.

Envy noted and aside, what is going on here? People want heroes, tarnished or not. In fact all are heroes are imperfect. Lincoln was a selfish, wily politician. FDR put Japanese Americans in camps and did little for African Americans. JFK planned to assassinate Castro and slept with the Mafia. Bishop Pike was a drunk and a womanizer. Yet all did so many wonderful things for the country and for me. My heroes are tarnished. Why shouldn’t fans heroes be flawed? They have the right to worship the sinner too.

Bond’s lying raises the question of the truth. Does the truth really make us free? Do we need to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in order to live lives fully? Intimacy with a spouse depends on telling the truth, being open and honest about one’s feelings and emotions as well as revealing the facts of one’s life and shearing them with another. Truth is the basis for faith in relationships and in business.

Business often seems to put little faith in the truth. Lying cheating and stealing money, ideas, employees are ways of life for big business. They make us money so we do business with them anyway.

What about happiness and the good life? Is Bonds a happy and fulfilled person? He has enormous amounts of money and fame. His first marriage broke up with much pain and bad publicity about the financial settlement of his wife and children. One lover left him acrimoniously telling the world that he indeed told her he was using illegal steroids. His arrogance has made him few friends among his teammates and employers. Living a lie means he is always on guard and under scrutiny. Most of us will never know much about the inner workings of the man.

The self-righteous part of me wants Bonds held accountable for flouting the rules of society and baseball. Lesser players would be fired and retired for lesser crimes. Justice demands Bond be convicted and punished.

Then there is the part of me that says, we should let people use what drugs they want if it means hurting themselves and others. We allow smoking and drinking alcohol and people kill themselves and others. Let Bonds use whatever steroids and drugs to enhance his body to perform to his greatest capacity. Give him the freedom to do what he wants with his body.

I guess I give in to the idea that Bonds should be held accountable for lying, abusing his body and damaging his position as a role model and icon for young people particularly and rabid fans too.

The few times I have seen him on the baseball field, even before I knew much about him, I was repelled by his arrogant slouching to the plate to take his turn at bat. His body language was “fuck you to the world. I am big Bonds and watch out.” His growing personal arrogance, his disdain for the press, his demands for entitlement, his easy chair in the club house, his touchy manner all add up to a man who needs to be taken down a peg or two and realize he is just a fool like the rest of us.

Perhaps just living the role of Barry Bonds is punishment a plenty for him, but I want him out of baseball.


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