I've been intrigued and amazed for decades by the concept of PEDs. PED stands for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Somehow, even as a young competitive athlete who I will say built my self worth and very existence, based on how well I thought I did in my chosen sport, I never reached for a PED or took any. That said, I witnessed other athletes take them. I talked to them about it. I was amazed. Why?
I first learned about PEDs from a friend of mine back in 7th or 8th grade. His older brother was a star athlete and they told me that some athletes took steroids. "Steroids, what's that?" I asked. They also said that steroids made you big and strong. But the downside was that they also made parts a guy shrink. Baffled, I thought, "what, why would someone...?"
So current day, I see full blown high profile cases of athletes using. In different sports, with both sexes relying on them for performance and paycheck, I ask what is real? I think athletes all have to ask themselves what is real and what do I want to do with myself. More so, we should look into the future and ask ourselves, when I look back on my athletics, what do I want to see? What do I want to learn from my experience? What do I want to say to others and what do I want to say about myself?
PED use to me represents a short term outlook. An "I've got to get this now," and never mind tomorrow kind of mindset. But tomorrow when you are asked about that performance, what will you say? From what I see, athletes who win with drugs will usually lie about it - at least for a while, but maybe forever. That is something that goes against the very idea of personal search for exploring your own personal limits. Is that worth it?
It also represents some kind of entitlement i.e. the "I deserve this" kind of attitude. Those who make the argument that they indulge to keep up with the other athletes in their sport who they believe are indulging is pure bs to me. As a coach, I say, go out and compete. Find out who and what is out there. But find our where you truly are in the arena. You will always have that piece of mind of who you really are and what you are truly capable of. That in itself is priceless.
This past weekend my masters swim team (TYDE Endurance and Aquatics Masters - TEAM) had it's first meet here in North Carolina. Held at an exceptional facility, the Greensboro Aquatic Center, we got a taste of fast water. Masters National Championships will be held at this pool in April 2016 so this was a great chance for us to get accustomed to the facility.
TEAM had about 15 athletes attend and each athlete experienced something great. In viewing the athletes behind the blocks, in the water and then hanging out between events, I was very pleased with everyone. Pleased especially with the focus to step up go at it.
Our mindset was "all in" when we raced. All in means we were focused and ready to fight for that great performance. Many athletes achieved best times.
Every race is a highly valuable experience. In the good races, you need to look at what you did right. In the other races, you look where you can improve. There is NO BAD SWIM!
We have our next meet in January '16 and I am looking forward seeing everyone out there again as we go "all in" and compete.
I am proud of my group!