If you were offered ten million dollars a year for ten years right after you graduated from high school, would you go to college and risk the chance of becoming injured or would you go “pro”. Competition these days is causing professional sports teams to be asking guys and girls not much older than myself to make decisions that, frankly, most are not mature or ready enough to make.
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One of these athletes is Lebron James, a 6’8″ High school Prodigy that has announced he will not go to college, but go straight to the NBA. During the four seasons that he swept through high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary, he demonstrated his will to win and the desire for competition by leading his team to a perfect 27-0 record and a State Division III title. James is 18. The rise in younger NBA players has changed not only the demographics of the league, but has also altered its public image and role in society.
Many athletes have the desire to win, but it is the ones that are great that are remembered the best. One example is the PGA seniors. Some people call them grinders. These men genuinely love the game of golf and keep on playing it even into their seventies and eighties. You can think of them as energizer bunnies or Timex watches. They take their lickings, but keep on ticking and all are loyal to their passion
Many older PGA pros have been playing with injuries for the past five, maybe ten years. The thing that keeps them in the sport is the competition. The desire to win. Many pros have decided that this is where they want to be. They keep this in mind with the extreme competition of the professional sports industry hot on their heels.
Another Example is Michael Jordan. Jordan was an extreme competitor from the start and has shown his desire to be the best by coming back to the NBA three times before retiring at the end of last year. One of the most defining moments in his career was game six of the NBA finals on June 14, 1998. Jordan stole the ball from Utah Jazz player Karl Malone in the Last minute of the game. He took the ball down the court, jump-stopped just below the top of the key, and nailed a fade-away jumper to put the bulls ahead 87-86. Just a game before, Jordan had missed the game winning shot from behind the three-point line at the buzzer. I believe that this shows the heart and the desire that athletes have to win and to overcome their adversaries. To be competitors.
Another aspect to competition is that the desire to win often causes athletes to take certain drugs, or beef up with steroids to be at their peak performance level. Using steroids is like cheating on a math test. If the teacher saw you cheat, she would take your paper away and give you zero. So why aren’t athletes banished or suspended? In some countries, they do banish athletes if they fail the drug tests, but some isn’t good enough. First up are Anabolic and Androgenic steroids, also called ‘roids, sauce, or juice, which are synthetic male hormones that may be either injected or taken in the form of a pill. They are illegal in most areas. Steroids can increase body weight, muscle mass and may improve performance and endurance. In teenagers, they usually cause the fusing of bones, resulting in short height, and injury due to overdeveloped muscles on an immature frame. What steroids can do to your body is not the whole story. Steroids can cause massive behavior changes ranging from aggression, hostility, and irritability to psychotic behavior often known as “‘roid rages.”
When you think about using steroids, consider the price you are willing to pay to win. What does it mean to win because of a drug instead of hard work and talent? Taken as a whole, there is no hard proof that steroids can improve your overall performance. Hard work and training is still the most effective way to increase performance. My belief is that athletes get so carried away in their craving to win, that they will do anything to achieve that goal, whether it be steroids, drugs, or whatnot.
In 1966, The dissimilarity was as stark as black and white. At a time when race relations had become a major national issue, it escaped nobody’s attention that the NCAA championship game between Kentucky and Texas Western pitted an all-white aggregation against five black starters. Texas Western won, Which was the first time a team with an all-black starting lineup had won the NCAA tournament. Texas Western’s victory definitely had a positive effect on college basketball. Shortly thereafter, Kentucky began recruiting black players and big-time programs throughout the South changed their unwritten policies. A barrier had fallen, quietly, thanks to a small group of young men with the desire for competition and the yearning to win, along with a demanding coach, all from an unheralded school in west Texas. This is one of the main reasons why I believe that Competition has caused the desegregation of sports teams.
Jackie Robinson is a second reason why the desire to win overcame unwritten laws and lead to the desegregation of many teams. As if they were waiting 10 years for Jackie Robinson’s debut into the Major leagues, African-Americans embraced integration. Robinson’s presence in baseball electrified them, and they flocked to see the Dodgers in huge numbers and from great distances. African-American sportswriters, many of whom had advocated baseball integration for years, focused their attentions on Robinson and the black players who followed him. His success encouraged the integration of professional football, basketball, and tennis. Jackie’s innate ability to thrive on competition made him one of the best-known baseball players in history.
These are some of the pros to competition in sports, but it also has a darker side, such as the illustrations of players using drugs, beating their spouses, and sometimes even assaulting other athletes to gain the “edge.”
Twenty percent of athletes in Western countries admit to using drugs. When you’re watching sports on television, you have no idea if what you are seeing is the athlete’s true ability, or drugs on display. A program of random drug tests, education, treatment, and discipline would cost an estimated one million dollars annually. However, one million dollars may be a small price to pay for fair play and good health. That’s why random drug tests would be extremely effective if taken by the athletes, not only throughout the season, but throughout the rest of the year as well.
Drugs shouldn’t be tolerated on any team, in any sport. The Houston Rockets had no tolerance for athletes who used drugs. Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins were banned from the NBA for cocaine use. An athlete can be treated without penalty if they come forward voluntarily. Nevertheless, to their disadvantage, Lloyd and Wiggins did not volunteer. Rockets coach Bill Fitch said the situation has taught him a lot about lying, because, “They’ll look you right in the eye every time and deny it.” However, when the tests came back positive they could not deny it any more. Every team should have a rule that says if athletes use drugs; they’re off the team.
A few examples of assault due to the desire to win or other family problems start when former Astros shortstop Julio Lugo was cut from the Houston Astros on May 2, 2003 for beating his wife before the game the day before. His wife said to local authorities that her husband punched her in the mouth and pushed her head into the side of her car. If convicted, Lugo faces a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Secondly, Baseball star Darryl Strawberry has admitted beating his wife and pointing a gun in her face, Basketball star Moses Malone was accused by his wife of physical and verbal brutality including death threats, and Golfer John Daly was arrested at his home after allegedly hurling his wife against a wall, pulling her hair, and trashing the house. What is this amounting to? Many players say that the competition is so harsh that they become machines to win. That when they come home to their families, they do not know how to turn off the rage that is used during their games to defeat their opponents. The main idea here is that competition can cause widespread family problems that can lead to major damage emotionally and physically to spouses and/or the athletes themselves.
In conclusion, while competition has its highs such as the desegregation of major sports teams, people that are playing for the love of the game, and the athletes that want to make an impact on the society, it also has its downs, which incorporate categories such as drugs, steroids, beating, and assault. If offered millions of dollars, would you go to college instead of the pros. Also, when thinking about using steroids, what are you willing to pay to win. These are the questions that we have to face in our everyday life as a result of competition.
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