Steroids and other performance enhancers can really boost a person past his limits, increasing his capabilities in order to win in a competition. He’ll be able to grow bigger, go faster, and become stronger than he was before. But after that, he’s just half the person he used to be. The trade-offs of using steroids as an artificial performance enhancer includes various physiological and emotional problems. For the males, they will experience testicular atrophy, as well as loss in sexual urges and other libido problems.
For the females, they would be subjected to abnormal periods and various changes in their hormonal balance, resulting to physical abnormalities (Dillingham). These are but a few of the drawbacks which we can derive from the use of these steroids and performance enhancers, but why would they risk their lives and limbs just for this? The answer lies in the athletes themselves, of their concept of competition and victory. There are a lot of issues that is linked to steroid use.
Prominent sports stars losing their titles and medals, winning teams being sanctioned because of tolerating steroid use, are but a few scandals which came up when we talk about these artificial performance enhancers. Steroid use can be directly associated to cheating, since it gives an unfair advantage to the users, giving them a great boost in their performance and capabilities. A good analogy to this would be competing in a father-son three-legged race. The aim would be to reach the finish line with one leg of the father tied to one leg of the son.
If you would apply the concept of steroids in this situation, the father would opt to carry his son in his arms then run as fast as he could to the finish line. He may have won, but he certainly has broken the rules. He endured the weight of his son in order to win, just like enduring the negative effects of the steroids just to have an edge over the competitors. This may be unethical, but it is all for the sake of winning. Another question that would arise in the issue of steroid use would be about the reason why people want to win, despite the negative effects of steroid usage.
Many people love sports – team competitions, close-contact single bouts, athletics, and more. All of these fields have a great following of fanatics, all cheering for the best team or the best competitor for an event. This gives the athletes a competitive pressure on them; wherein they would do everything they can in order to win for the sake of satisfying their fans. This not only involves the fame that they get, but also the incentives that come with winning. There are a lot of people who would benefit from winning athletes or competitors.
These include the coaches, institutions like schools and other organizations, and even some of the parents. Instead of teaching these athletes not use these performance enhancers, they would be the ones who would tolerate and introduce it, since winning for them is the only thing that matters (Dillingham). They want winners, because winners bring fame to an institution, money to the pockets of parents, coaches and trainers, and a deteriorating body to the athletes.
We must face the fact that the body has its limitations. Steroid use for performance enhancement is just like genetic engineering in many aspects. They threaten an aspect of our humanity to act freely for ourselves by our own efforts. Winners who benefit from these performance enhancers cannot be truly worthy of praise for any achievements, because their means to win is greatly questionable. Even if these performance enhancers get accepted in the society, the degree of appreciation from the society may decrease.
We can acknowledge the role of effort and enhancement of the athletes, but according to Sandel, “as the role of the enhancement increases, our admiration for the achievement fades” (Sandel). They may be winners by title or by medal, but for the people, they’re just a bunch of dopers. The ones, who can dope with these steroids the most, will be the ones who can bag more medals and awards. This truly changes the concept of competition. When we look at the concept of steroid use in order to win, we should put it side by side with the after effects to the human body.
Should we equate the athlete’s lives to money and fame? Is a bronze, silver, or gold medal enough to pay for the joys of a married life and a healthy sex life? If the athlete is willing to exchange all of it just to become rich and famous, then he does not deserve the life that he posses. We are human beings, made with imperfections and weaknesses, but well equipped with the knowledge in order to cope with these imperfections. This knowledge should not be used to further destroy our bodies just for a shot of wealth and fame for a short time in our life.
Dillingham, Michael. “Steroids, Sports, and the Ethics of Winning. ” A Rhetoric with Readings, Part Five, in Search of Perfection: Steroids, Bionic Athletes, and Designer Children. Eds. J. Rampage, J. Bean and J. Johnson. 7th edition ed. New York: Pearson, Longman, 2007. pp. 635-36. Sandel, Michael. “What’s Wrong with Enhancement. ” A Rhetoric with Readings, Part Five, in Search of Perfection: Steroids, Bionic Athletes, and Designer Children. Eds. J. Rampage, J. Bean and J. Johnson. 7th edition ed. New York: Pearson, Longman, 2007. pp. 653-57.