Tag: Sports

The Oddest Things

I’m not one to support athletes, but when I do, I do it for the oddest reasons most of the time. I’ve been watching The Ultimate Fighter season 20, and I can’t help but absolutely being amazed at Joanne Calderwood. Her in-cage personality is the polar opposite to the out-of-cage personality. She carries herself quietly and respectably, which stands in stark contrast to some of the other athletes.

Rose Namajunas is another great example. She’s so open and honest about her emotions while still being an absolute mercenary. She reminds me of the bits of “honest fight hyping” Jim and I used to do while drinking.

I guess it has little to do with ability — or rather, ability is not the only thing that’s important. I guess all those sports management companies know what I’m talking about and try desperately to craft and mould the public image of their athletes, but that just leaves them appearing stale and saltless. Perhaps supreme talent and honed ability often comes hand in hand with a dislikeable personality — someone hyper focussed to the point of appearing to lose most of what makes a person human. I have neither, so I wouldn’t know, but it would explain why so many public persona’s are so… crafted and synthetic.


About a year or two ago, I saw a documentary on the use of anabolic steroids. It was an unusual documentary because it defied the common sense idea that steroids were bad, lead to roid rage and shrunken testicles, etc. They interviewed several doctors about steroids, and I remember one of them arguing that “the only thing that’s true about steroids is that they work.”

They reasoned that the current negative views of steroids was attributable to — and I don’t quite remember the exact details, sadly — one single incident in the early 80’s when a hockey player killed his family and left a note before committing suicide in which he stated that it was because of the steroids that he was taking.

I really wish I could find that article again, not because I’m convinced that it was true, but I always like to hear the opposing views of commonly held sancrosanct beliefs.

We also often overlook our own culpability as spectators of a sport. Especially in the extreme endurance sports like the Tour de France, for instance. There is an escalation of expectations that are placed on the athletes from one year to the next. There’s an assumption that the next year will see faster times than the previous years, and it’s not surprising that an athlete that needs to show a Herculean performance on the days where they are not racing, resorts to hefty supplements in order to be stronger and recupperate faster so that they can do it again the next day.