Thursday, March 17, 2005

I think it's a good decision for congress to hold baseball's feet to the fire, though they're obviously about 10 years too late. But, really, of all the things there are to talk about, wall-to-wall live coverage of a congressional hearing on the dangers of steroid abuse? Listening to the wailing of committee members about the threat of setting a bad example for the children would make you think that every other high school locker is spilling over with needles, that football players, debate team members, and the marching band, are all sneaking off between classes to shoot up illegal testosterone.

I understand that steroid abuse can be a harbinger of severe depression and a variety of ill health, as well as being illegal. And I know that we should draw attention to what we can--the celebrity of pro athletes makes this spotlight possible. But don't you figure that other harmful, illegal things are higher on the list of destructive teenage activities? You wouldn't think so listening to TV and Capitol Hill today.

Can some of you in high school education comment on the stat I heard today that the CDC estimates 1 in 16 high schoolers have tried steroids? With half of high schoolers being female, so smarter than that, that means 1 in 8 males. Does that sound right to those of you on the ground?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with talking about harmful stuff, and the bad examples set by adults. But it's strange to me how much attention this is getting, and how ominous the warnings suddenly are (to justify the attention, I suppose). We would do better convincing more young men that their life does not depend on--and that they have more to offer than--just a career in sports.

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