The ABC’s Of The Wide World of Drugs

By Dr. Boyce D. Watkins
Updated: August 31, 2006

NEW YORK Most of the top athletes, especially in track and field, are using performance-enhancing drugs. Yeah, I said it, what are you going to do about it? Nothing. You know why? Because you really want to fess up anyway.

You are sick of living the lie and want to come clean. Don’t feel bad, because I don’t think of you as a cheater. I would rather say that you are like a lot of 16-year olds who carry guns to school: you don’t want to do it, but if your enemies are strapped, then you might as well be packing.

Being a huge fan of track and field, I have always been “roid realistic”: If you are taller than the tallest people in the world, with half of them standing on stilts, then chances are that you are using stilts also.

So, by dominating the best athletes in the world, many of whom are on drugs, you might as well put a sign on your forehead that says “Made in Balco”. I’m not ‘hatin, I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just calling it like I see it. Point blank.

Given that many of these tests can’t detect a cheeseburger in McDonald’s, I figured that I would come up with my own metrics to determine if an athlete might need to be dropped into rehab.

While these measures are not perfect or scientific, they can be a general guideline for separating the humans from the Cyborgs. First, there is the superhuman comeback.

Let’s say you were all but slaughtered in the Tour de France, with virtually no chance of winning. And then the next day, you make a comeback that would make Jesus blush.

All of America would celebrate your courage and commitment. I would just presume that you got your hands on the “good stuff”.

Another sign of steroid use is some unbelievable performance, such as, say, hitting over 70 home runs when you are damn near 40 years old or running 19.32 in the 200-meter dash (a performance that we did not expect a human to achieve for another 150 years).

Nike would reward your heroics with a bigger contract. I would quietly wonder if you exchanged the pee in the cup for lemonade.

Another sign: Performing in a way that is inconsistent with your performance as a young athlete. I used to have a girlfriend who would check to see if men had sex changes by asking to see their baby pictures.

The same can be done for athletes, sort of, to see if they are naturally talented. If they were getting third place medals in the local high school meets and breaking the world record 10 years later, they have a lot of questions to answer.

Now, don’t kill the messenger. Don’t get mad at me for destroying any American idealism that you might have had. If I just did a Rodney King on your heroes, then I am truly sorry. I am just saying two things:

More athletes dope up than you might think, and this does not mean that they are bad people. Let me explain how the process can go. You are an honest, clean, talented and hard working 18-year-old.

But you get to the next level and compete with little Russians who leave you busted like Marion Barry. The tiny white lady next to you is running faster than the Energizer Bunny, has a voice deeper than Barry White in the morning and snorts like a horny hyena.

The beating you receive from the bunny-horse-hyena forces you to question your talent, your work ethic and your entire reality. Then, someone lets you in on “the secret”.

It could be, saaaaay, your husband or world record holding baby-daddy. They let you know that you have a choice: either give up the sport you love (and the cash flow that goes with it), or take “a lil sumpin sumpin” to help you get your groove back.

You figure that if you are successful, you earn millions. If you are caught, you just walk away gracefully. America has the best steroids money can buy.

We even have drugs to put on top of the other drugs that make the original drugs undetectable. If you have crack in your system, they think its vegetables.

If you’re pregnant, the test says that you ate a burrito. We’re the Nino Browns of the track and field industry, and we have the game on lock. Then, when you get that phone call from your agent, you know that the jig is up.

The routine is the same for every athlete: deny it. Have some quack doctor say that you inhaled excess testosterone by walking past a pack of elephants during mating season.

Tell them that you are an insomniac with erectile dysfunction and got the chemicals from taking your Viagra (even if you are a woman). At the end of the day, you take your millions and step to the side.

You are not bitter. Why?

Because deep down you know that you would do it all over again.