Human, Not-Quite Human

The doping scandals that plague professional and “amateur” sports have done little to shake the enthusiasm of fans and sportswriters for their heroes.  Fans still flock to the stadiums and spend their weekends watching NBA basketball games, NASCAR races, and even (if ABC is to be believed) AFL football exhibitions.  As a child, I once saw a mock-scandal tabloid that “revealed” the secret of Bob Feller’s fastball: a cannon surgically implanted into the pitcher’s arm.  A crude joke in the 1950’s has become reality, albeit in a more sophisticated form.  But no Dr. Frankenstein today would resort to stitching up corpses when there are unborn babies to harvest and recycle.

To be fair, many sports fans do concede that it is wrong to break the rules, that even home-run hitters should be made, from time to time, to face the indignation of the underconditioned effeminates who bask in the reflected virility of star athletes.  But, as Frank de Ford opined one morning on National Public Radio, sports have always been about transcending limits, and, lamentable as it may seem, it is not in an athlete’s nature to pass up anything that will put him in the record books or increase the value of his endorsements.  Paraphrasing Burke, one might say that, whatever is the road to a record, that is the road that will be trod, preferably on Nike or Adidas.


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