Underpinning sportsmanship is an abstract idea about the purity of games and the nobility of competition. This volume in Greenhaven’s Issues That Concern You series probes whether it is morally wrong for athletes to use steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Former senator George Mitchell’s investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball and Roger Clemens’ subsequent testimony before Congress seemed to tarnish the entire sport. Though the majority of baseball fans believe that players who use steroids should be punished, a smaller contingent believes that careful doping can contribute to optimization of human potential. Some in the volume argue that, given the differing resources of pro sports franchises, the playing field will never be truly equal, so steroids are but another tool in the athletic arsenal. Performance-enhancing drugs have also been compared to technological improvements in protective equipment and clothing, such as the notorious Speedo full-body suit that shaved seconds off swimmers’ times at the Beijing Olympics. Many professions, including the U.S. military, rely upon pharmaceutical support for a competitive advantage. There is one mention about use of Adderall and other prescription medicines believed to sharpen mental accuity, one of the recent trends in what has been dubbed cosmetic pharmacology.
One article is adapted from Jose Canseco’s memoir, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big". While Canseco describes his own role in introducing steroids into major league baseball, he also strongly cautions that they will not be beneficial to growing bodies. Another chapter is penned by Dan Clark, known as the wrestler Nitro on the reality series American Gladiators, who outlines many of the harmful effects of steroids and decries Canseco’s ongoing advocacy of steroids.
The book will be well-received by teen boys. Illustrations are provocative, information is often conveyed graphically, and text is conversational in tone with ample sports-world jargon. New vocabulary like luddites and gerrymandered are defined parenthetically rather than marginally or in an appendix.
Several chapters are adapted from books. One is from a master’s thesis. Also included are articles from Reason, The Christian Science Monitor, and many online news sources. There is an appendix with emphatic character education guidance related to the subject, a list of organizations for contact, a bibliography of books and journal articles, and an index.
This would pair well with or provide additional information for teens reading Carl Deuker’s "Gym Candy", "Juiced" by Eric Walter or any of the other young adult novels addressing steroid in high school athletics. Recommended for school libraries.