Monday, August 11, 2008

"Performance Enhancing"

I saw the Supreme Statist on television saying that he opposed "performance enhancing drugs" in sports because it sends the wrong message to young people. He said that if you look at the stats from the athletes from earlier decades, you need to know that there is a real comparison with the stats of today. (OK, he didn't say exactly those words, but he did use a couple of multi-syllabic words, I swear.)

Well, using that same reasoning, shouldn't we ban anyone from competing who has had reconstructive surgery after an injury? After all, that option wasn't really available 50 years ago. Shouldn't athletes of today live with the same risk of getting polio that their predecessors did? After all, that eliminated many potential competitors. Nutrition and training are also probably better today. That gives a skewed comparison when looking at the history of sports. Some athletes are cancer survivors who in the past would surely have died. Isn't it unfair to allow them to continue to compete when others with the same disease died?

Today is different from the past. To try to stop progress at some point in the past is something that some religious groups have tried. Unless we all wish to become Amish we need to recognize that change occurs. Some is good, some is bad, but the genie won't go back in the bottle.