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Steroids – Is it Really Worth it?
Why do so many people use steroids when there are so many health risks and side affects? Do people take steroids because they are not aware of all the risks? Not likely, steroids have been around since the 1930’s when Nazi scientists tried to invent drugs that would make German armies more powerful (Rogak 15). Steroids were considered harmful and made illegal in 1991. Some side affects of steroids are baldness, high blood pressure, lowered sex drive, acne, nosebleeds, liver disease, kidney disease, and many more. It may sound ridiculous and idiotic to most to use steroids with all the risks, but the temptation and pressures in using them are sometimes unbearable. In today’s society there are many pressures to be the best athlete and to look a certain way. Nobody wants to take second place, or look scrawny and wimpy. People want to be a winner and want people to turn their heads to look at them when they walk into a room. The fastest and easiest way to do that is to take steroids. People take steroids to be bigger and better at sports, their physical appearance, and pressures from the media and peers.


In today’s athletics, athletes are getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Whether an athlete plays high school or professional sports, it is getting harder for athletes to compete at a high level with all the competition. When an athlete is not good enough to make the team or is on a team and does not play much. Athletes will do just about anything to make themselves better? Many athletes spend numerous hours practicing and lifting weights trying to get better at their sport, and still they lack what it takes to make the team or be the best. Steroids are the solution to their problems and a way to make their dreams come true. “If you were offered the opportunity to lose body fat, get stronger, add more muscle within six weeks and have more motivation to work out more consistently then you do now, would not you try it”(Charles 21)? Sure it is illegal and it is unfair for all the other athletes who do it the hard way, but most do not care. Many young men are taking steroids at a young age. “Reports from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission issued a report that steroid use increased 2.6 percent from 1997 to 1999” (“Steroid Use” 1). Also, “a report from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research shows an increase of 2.4 to 3.1 for boys in twelfth grade between 1991 to1999” (Mihoces 3). Augie Wolf a shot putter said “do I take drugs and win medals, or do I play fair and finish last”(Talmadge 17)? The risks are worth their dreams coming true, them making the team, or being a star. Doctor Prince said “ it wasn’t the star athletes who were using steroids but the kids that were not good enough who thought steroids would put them on top” (“Steroid Use” 1).


Tommy Chaikin a football player said “I decided I was going to take steroids to get big and strong and aggressive. I didn’t care if I died, as long as I completed the season-just as long as I finished like a man” (Talmadge 17). This football player was so dedicated to being the best that he could be. He did not even care if he lost his own life. In recent years sports have become a huge industry. Just this year Alex Rodreguez signed a ten year two hundred and fifty million dollar contract with the Texas Rangers. This is the biggest contract in sports history. “A gold medal in the Olympics can mean millions of dollars to athletes, coaches, managers, sponsors, and even countries”(Rogak 17). It is no wonder more and more people are striving to be the best, and will do whatever it takes to get there. When it comes to making money and a lot of it people will do just about anything.


Almost everyone is self-conscience about how they look. For example, “he turns to the mirror to stare at his reflection, pushing up the sleeves to the baggy sweater he wears to hide his body” (Bartlett 1). “Flexing his muscles, he lets out a sigh of dissatisfaction and disgust at the body he hates, longing to look like the bodybuilders he admires” (Bartlett 1). “Steroid are enormously popular not only on the sports track, but also in the world of workout gyms and fitness buffs” (Wood 40). Most people would like to be fit and in shape, but it takes a lot of work. People spend many hours in a gym, and sometimes no matter how long or hard they work out they do not see any results. This can be frustrating when people are trying to put on muscle. By using steroids, someone can put on a lot of mass, and have more definition in a short amount of time. “You take your first shot, given by a friend, and you can’t wait for the friend to come back and give you that fix” (Cobbs 1). “It’s like muscle being injected into you” (Cobbs 1). “It’s like instant size and mass.” (Cobbs 1). A person who is working out long hours and is not seeing much change. Might decide to take steroids, because they are frustrated by not seeing any results. When that person starts taking steroids, they will start having more sex appeal towards the opposite sex, and start becoming more popular. When they look in the mirror with astonishment and see themselves as a person they always wanted to look like. Would not you continue taking steroids even with the health risks involved? Most would say no, but for the people who take steroids, it is a dream come true.


It is almost impossible to turn on a television or look through a magazine without seeing people who are fit and in shape. It seems that no matter what people watch or read, they see these types of people. The advertisements try to make people think that they need a certain product or look a certain way to fit in. “The media continually bombards us with the message to be sexy, one must have a fit, muscular body” (Rogak 18). “Many men take this message to heart and do whatever is necessary to achieve a similar look” (Rogak 18). There are articles in body building magazines with articles saying put on twenty even thirty pounds in twelve weeks or less by taking certain steroid products (Fish 15). It is no wonder so many young men are turning to steroids to have that body they always wanted.


Sometimes people take steroids to look bigger for their physical safety. Nobody likes to be called names for being weak or small. Someone who is smaller than everyone else, and gets picked on, might turn to steroids to look bigger. “In a gang situation, a kid might feel steroids will get him big so the gang will leave him alone” (Cobbs 1). Not only do they look bigger when they take steroids, but they also have a high self-esteem and think they can do anything. Rustein, a personal trainer says, “I thought I looked wonderful and at the time, I thought I was invincible.” He continues to say, “you’re on top of the world; you think you’re Superman or something” (Charles 24). Taking steroids may not be the best choice, but it is probably safer than the other option of safety; that is using a weapon or gun. That is not only harmful for the person who carries the gun, but everyone around them. This maybe one of the reasons so many kids take guns to school. If schools and neighborhoods where safer maybe kids would not take steroids or carry weapons.


No matter how old a person is or how much education they may have, everyone is influenced by some kind of pressure. For most people, the pressure they are influenced by is harmless. It may be choosing Coke over Pepsi because of the commercial they watched, but for others they might be pressured into a harmful drug.


The idea of steroids making you big and strong is being learned from a young age. In the October 12, 1998 issue of “People”, “an article stated that the ants from the Disney film A Bug’s Life better be taking steroids” (Mihoces 1). This was referring to how big and strong the ants were. Even though this kind of pressure is not intended to pressure kids into taking steroids. Kids are learning that steroids are the answer to make you big and strong. Just as in the cartoons they watch. This may sound foolish, but kids are learning that steroids are okay. “You’d never say that about cocaine or heroin, but on steroids’ is like, good” (qtd. in Mihoces 1).


Professional athletes have a huge influence on other athletes and their fans. Mark McGwire a professional baseball player, openly admitted to taking androstenedione during his 1998 record breaking season (Falcon 1). Baseball is one of the last sports that allows androstenedione to be used. “Even though Mark McGwire stopped using the drug because he did not want others to emulate him” (Baseball’s Andro Controversy 1). “The Associated Press first reported he stopped using andro, sales increased tenfold, according to industry information” (Baseball’s Andro Controversy 1). The year that McGwire took androstenedione, he broke the home run record that nobody had even come close to since it was set. The athletes and fans who admire McGwire, now will be pressured into using the drug. Some people will take the drug because they want to be like McGwire, and others will take it because they are in fear of not being good enough without using steroids.


Sometimes what drives athletes into taking steroids is their coaches. Coaches are human just like everyone else, and nobody likes to lose or be a loser. There is no second place in sports, either they are a winner or a loser. Sometimes coaches pressure their athletes to doing whatever it takes to win. “Tommy Chaikin a football player, knew about all of the side effects or steroids, but he wanted to get bigger without the help of steroids because of all the risks” (Talmadge 25). “But the coaches wanted us to be as aggressive as possible and it did not matter where that aggression came from” (Talmadge 25). In other instances, coaches pressure athletes to gain a lot of weight in a short time if they want to be a starter. “If the athlete has been lifting weights like crazy to get to his weight where he is now, and all of a sudden he is supposed to gain thirty more.” (Talmadge 25). “The athlete will be pressured into using steroids even though he knows the side effects of steroids” (Talmadge 25). Everyone knows that even if person lifts weights everyday, they will not gain thirty pounds in a short period of time unless they take steroids. Should the athlete take steroids and be a starter, or do not take steroids and never play?
In today’s athletics, nobody wants to watch a losing team. Whether the person plays on a team, or an individual sport. People want to see their team or favorite athlete succeed. Everyone is getting bigger and better at the sports they play. Some of the pressure that athletes receive is from the fans. Rob a professional bodybuilder says “citizens want to see the big massive freaks, if they only had natural guys going up on stage there would be nobody in the audience” (Charles 25).


There are many pressures in society today. Some people take steroids so they will make the team or do better in the sport they play, and others just want to look good. The rest are pressured into taking steroids from there coaches, media, and even fans. Are taking steroids worth all of the risks involved? Well, for the people who take steroids they are worth all the risks. In athletics there is no second place; either you are a winner or you are a loser, and nobody likes to be a loser. There are many reasons people use steroids. Although steroids are not safe, people continue to use them. It is not right for people to use steroids, but as long as there are pressures to win, look good, and to get bigger and stronger there will be people using steroids.




Work Cited
Bartlett, Jessica. “Bigger Isn’t Always Better.” American Fitness 19.1 (2001): 36-4.
“Baseball’s Andro Controversy.” .
Charles, Cheryl. “Substances Prove Strong Lure for Many Young Men.” Boston Globe 29 Aug. 1994: 21.
Cobbs, Chris. “A Strong Desire.” Phoenix Gazette 28 Mar. 1993: G1.
Falcon, Mike. “Testosterone Booster Sidelines Bear QB.” USA Today on the Internet 9 Dec. 1999. 18 Feb. 2001. .
Fish, Mike. “Steroids: Riskier Than Ever.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution (1993): 15A.
Mihaces, Gary. “Steroid Survey Stirs Concerns.” USA Today on the Internet 18 April 2000. 24 Feb. 2000. .
Rogak, Lisa A. Steroids Dangerous Game. Minnesota: Lerner, 1992.
“Steroid Use in Arizona Schools Rise, Claim Students, State Report.” East Valley Tribune [Mesa] 20 Aug. 2000: 5B.
Talmadge, Katherine S. Drugs and Sports. Maryland: Twenty-First Century Books, 1991.
Wood, Chris. “Looking for a Chemical Edge.” Maclean 102 (1996): 40-42.

 

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