One of the most profound scandals to ever have hit the baseball community was the widely publicized doping that occurred during the latter half of the 1990s. Stars such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire came under intense scrutiny after rumors emerged that they had been taking performance-enhancing supplements (AKA derivatives of steroids) for some time. This is the very same reason why many of their records have since been called into question, and for good reason. We are therefore forced to ask why these extremely successful athletes would resort to such methods in order to stay one step ahead of the curve. Let’s take a quick look at some possible reasons behind such behaviors.
Pressure From Within the Industry
We are all aware that celebrities and athletes alike are under a great deal of pressure. After all, they are worth a great deal of money and their success will often benefit the entire industry. This is when pressure comes into the equation. Many of these very same individuals feel that there is always room to grow; even if such expectations seem to be unrealistic to the average individual.
The fact of the matter is that athletes such as baseball players subject their bodies to a significant amount of wear and tear. This is the very same reason why a player who is 20 years old will recuperate much faster when compared to a star who has just turned 40. Thus, they feel the need to remain ahead of the ever-evolving competitive curve. We should mention that such mentality is not limited to baseball. Other celebrity athletes who have turned to illegal supplementation include Lance Armstrong, Maria Sharapova and Justin Gatlin.
The Dangers of Perfectionism
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There is another factor which we need to enter into the equation. This involves self-perception and personal motivation. One of the reasons why certain athletes are sol successful involves their perfectionist state of mind. In other words, they can never run fast enough, jump high enough or hit the ball far enough. Although this is indeed the stuff of champions, such a perspective represents a double-edged sword. For example, what would happen if one of these individuals happened to suffer from a career-threatening injury?
While an average athlete may take time to recover naturally, professionals will often feel pressured into maintaining their state of self-imposed perfectionism. As a result, drugs and similar chemical supplements could come into play. Once they are present within a training regimen, they are very hard to eliminate.
To be clear, we are not faulting the athletes themselves in any way. Everyone is a subject to pressure; especially those who are perfectionists by their very nature. The unfortunate fact is that celebrity athletes are forced to endure much more public scrutiny that amateurs. As a result, any mistakes that happen to be made are likely to harm their careers.
The presence of performance-enhancing drugs is not expected to diminish any time soon. Still, it is impossible to deny the talents of these athletes.