War Cry

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How far will an athlete go to succeed?

Jimmy Margulies of the Palm Beach Post

Jimmy Margulies of the Palm Beach Post

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With the Winter Olympics just ending, it’s only appropriate the “I, Tonya” movie hit theaters. The movie explores the 1994 scandal where Nancy Kerrigan, a rival figure skater of Tonya Harding, was clubbed in the knee by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. Authorities determined Harding was not only involved but also hired Gillooly to assault Kerrigan. But with this scandal resurfacing, a serious question is raised: how far will an athlete go to succeed?

Doping cases are all too familiar in professional sports these days. Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour De France titles after admitting using Erythropoietin (EPO), Human Growth Hormone, Testosterone, Cortisone and Blood transfusion. Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire MLB 2014 regular and post season after testing positive for Testosterone and primobolan.

Doping isn’t just a problem in professional sports, between 5-12% of male students in high school have used anabolic steroids by the time they reach their senior year, according to a study conducted by https://steroidly.com/steroid-use-statistics/.

“I’m an athlete myself and I know a handful of guys on a bunch of different teams that use steroids to get bigger and play better,” an anonymous source at Jupiter High School said. “They’re all well aware of the side-affects and the dangers but they just don’t seem to care.”

But unfortunately, doping is just one of many lines some athletes will cross for success. As in Harding’s case, assault of competitors and even teammates is an option for success among athletes.

Ice hockey is widely known for its aggressive nature, but on Feb. 21, 2000, Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins took it to a new level when he assaulted Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks. At the beginning of the game, the two got into a fight in which Brashear ultimately won. With time ticking and his team trailing, McSorley made a desperate attempt at seeking revenge by skating towards Brashear from behind and slashing him in the head with his stick.

Brashear quickly went down and smacked his head on the ice which sent him into convulsions.

On a personal level, when I was playing middle school soccer, my coach would often call a timeout to tell me to take out the best player in the opposing team. I knew it wasn’t right, but I did it without hesitation. As in my case, and the cases of many other athletes, the desire to win often clouds better judgement.

So what is it in some athletes that makes them want to succeed so bad that they will put themselves and others in potential danger? Is it a genetic trait that we inherit? Or is it because we live in a society of so much competition and shame that winning really does seem like the only option?

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How far will an athlete go to succeed?