COMPETITION IN SPORTS AND THE USE OF STERIODS In order to succeed, people must compete. Competition can bring out the best in everyone. During a single day, people in some way compete with themselves or with others. They compete to win a sporting event, to get a raise or promotion in their workplace, to receive the best grades on tests or homework assignments, and to be the best at everything they do. If there were no competition to bring out the best in us, no one would succeed in life. All people would be at the same level. There would be no such word as best. We would not even progress in technology because no one would want to invent something better. We could still be using a candle for light, because it would be sufficient. There would be no need to invent electricity, because no one would want to compete to invent something better than a candle. Other inventions, such as the telephone and computer, may also have never been invented. If there were no competition to better technology, letters would be the most efficient way of communicating and the Internet wouldn t even exist. Competition comes from many areas. Children first learn of competition by watching and listening to their parents. Parents always want their children to succeed and be the best at all they do. They often reward the kids for doing a good job. Some parents give money for A s on report cards, and some reward children by buying them a gift. Coaches also push competition by encouraging the team members to practice in order to be the best that they can and win. Competition can also come from oneself. People often push themselves to be successful. They set goals and work toward them. Competition starts at a very young age and lasts throughout life. Children always compete with other children about who has the best toys or the best bike. They also always try to win at games or build the best fort in the woods. Winning a game or having something no one else has builds up a child s self esteem. That makes a child feel important. It s good to learn how to compete at a young age, because competition never stops. Many people are against children competing because they say it pushes children too hard. They think children just need to have fun. This is not true. Children must compete to an extent. It s true that a child s life shouldn t be all about winning, but they need to compete in order to learn important life skills and be used to the competitiveness in the world today. The children need to want to be competitive so they practice and get better. If parents and coaches don t push a child to compete with others, the child may just sit around and watch T.V all day long. After childhood, competition in sports begins and also the use of some drugs to enhance a persons strength and ability in sports. High school athletes always want to win. Winning makes the athletes become recognized by the community, the state, and sometimes even the nation. This is why some athletes that are weak in mind chose the easy way out and go with the use of say anabolic steroids. What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are a group molecules that include the male sex hormone testosterone and synthetic analogs of testosterone (Taylor, 1991) Anabolic steroids are used by many people in sports today due to the rapid increase in muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are made synthetically and are very powerful. Recent evidence suggests that there may be over 3,000,000 regular anabolic steroid users in the United States and most of these users buy their steroids illegally (Taylor, 1991). Steroids are used in veterinary medicine. They are used in meat production, to increase muscle in cattle, which produces lean beef, and they are given to show horses, racehorses, and race dogs to increase their muscle mass. People today are abusing the use of anabolic steroids. Though intended for people who have just had surgery or may be sick to get them strong, healthy people, mainly athletes, who simply want to promote muscle growth, often use the drug. On the streets steroids are known as "juice" or "roids". The history of steroid use dates back to the late 1930s. Steroids were first developed in World War 2; the German army reportedly gave anabolic steroids to their soldiers to make them more aggressive in war. After the war, doctors in Europe and the United States frequently used steroids to treat anemia - a blood disorder - and malnutrition, and helped recover more quickly from operations. Steroids may have some therapeutic value. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of selected steroids for treating specific types of breast cancers, osteoporosis, endometriosis, and hereditary angioedema, a rare disease involving the swelling of some parts of the body. By the late 1940s, bodybuilders in Eastern Europe were taking testosterone in various forms. In the 1950s, athletes used anabolic steroids to improve their performance in international competition. In 1956, American doctor John B. Zieglar worked with a drug company to produce anabolic steroids in the United States. Professional athletes particularly football players began using anabolic steroids as early as the 1960s. The health dangers of anabolic steroids were not yet recognized, and athletes obtained steroids from team doctors. When state laws were passed against steroids in the 1960s a black market or illegal trade began for steroids. Steroids eventually found their way into school level athletic programs at both college and high school levels. Despite all the tragic physical effects steroids have on the body, athletes continue to use it. One of the most alarming is the threat of AIDS, which can be transmitted if needles are shared. Some effects, such as rapid weight gain, are easy to see. Some take place internally and some are irreversible. Males who take large doses of anabolic steroids typically experience changes in sexual characteristics. Some possible side effects are shrinking of testicles, reduced sperm count, impotence, balding, difficulty in urinating, development of breasts, and enlarged prostate. Females may experience masculinization as well as other problems. They experience growth of facial hair, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice, and breast reduction. Although there are many different effects on the male and female, both may suffer from acne, jaundice, trembling, swelling of feet or ankles, and bad breath. There are also psychological effects caused by steroids. Many athletes report "feeling good" about themselves. The user will suffer wide mood swings ranging from violent periods, even homicidal, episodes known as "roid rages" to bouts of depression. They also suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility (Lend 24). A few examples of professional athletes that use steroids are Brian Bosworth, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and John Kordic. The permanent irreversible physical side effects of steroid use are much more serious. Anabolic steroids can increase the levels of fat in the blood; users are at risk of heart attacks and other heart problems. Steroids can cause kidney disease, Jaundice, Peliosis Hepatis, and liver Tumors. But steroids that build those muscles can lead to lowered self-esteem, depression, and inability to think clearly, and lack of energy. Medical researchers are also looking at the connection between testosterone and the increase hostility and the potential for violence at high levels. The health risks that go along with the use of steroids may stop some people from using them. They are also illegal in the United States without a prescription. Penalties for Steroid use can resolve in fines or imprisonment. There are even penalties for doctors who give anabolic steroids to athletes solely to improve their athletic skill. Until the late 1980s, doctors were the primary source of the drugs for more than a third of the users in the United States. Today, less then 10 percent of steroid users obtain their drugs by prescription (Taylor, 1982) Which caused the need for drug testing for athletes. Drug testing has spread through all different sports from baseball to football. Like all substances taken into the body, anabolic steroids are broken down and changed in the body. This process makes it difficult to find anabolic steroids in the original form. There for when drug test are given for sporting events the drug tester looks for metabolites. The distinctive patters that are formed in these metabolites are like fingerprints in that they are unique and can be matched with the known metabolic signature pattern. Each IOC-accredited laboratory maintains an extensive library of these metabolite patterns (Goldman, 1955). The history of drug testing all started in the Olympic Winter Games in 1968. Accurate testing didn't start until the Summer Olympic Games of 1976. In conclusion to the topic of steroids, steroids are not instant muscles. Just because you take steroids does not mean that you will increase in muscle size or become more dominant in your sport. There are more effective ways of increasing you physique and athletic ability and keep from harming your body. Steroids are to be used only in the medical field for helping patients who need the help. People who are using steroids should be more aware of what is going to happen to their body in the long term. Competition is a big part of everyday life. It brings out the best in everyone by making them succeed. Everyone must be competitive throughout life. Without competition, there wouldn t be any progress. What reasons would we have for trying to accomplish a goal, or to do our personal best?
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