Frankensteins of the Sports World

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates a monster (I’ll call him the Creature). The Creature wasn’t supposed to be a monster; he was supposed to be an improved human being. In many ways, he was. Although his grotesque features (ridiculous height, yellow skin, etc.) would disagree, the Creature was better than every human when physically compared. He was faster and stronger; no match for any human attempting to catch him for his egregious acts. Wasn’t that Dr. Frankenstein’s goal?

One portrayal of the Creature.

Yes and no. He succeeded in creating a “better” human physically, but failed in other (more important) aspects. The Creature was not accepted by his peers because of his appearance, and later his actions. A striking similarity can be found between Dr. Frankenstein and modern athletic doctors. When I mention modern athletic doctors, I am certainly not talking about all. I am talking about the ones who have significantly contributed to the naming of this time period in sports as “The Steroid Era.”

Professional athletes are always trying to improve themselves and recently (within 20 years), many have turned to medical enhancements. For the most part, they reap immediate benefits (improved play, higher salaries,etc.), which eventually lead to an often ugly decline. Now, it’s time for some parallelism.

Baseball players are some of the highest users of PEDs.

Doctors who enable cheating ( by providing performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs) are doing the same thing that Victor Frankenstein did. With good intentions, they are trying to create “super-humans” and succeeding just like Dr. Frankenstein.  In each case, more physically advanced “creatures” are constructed. But with that success, comes severe failure. Players accused of PED use are tolerated, but not accepted in their sporting habitats, just as the Creature was shunned by all of society. In addition, the integrity of sports has diminished greatly as a result of rampant PED use.

The only difference is that there were no predecessors to Victor and he embarked upon his quest unknowingly. Today, the professional and social punishments (the latter outweighing the former) for being caught with the use of performance enhancing drugs are very well-known. There is no excuse to continue “succeeding” through false pretenses when it is a certainty that extreme failure will follow.

A little baseball humor relating to PED use.

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