After a week of looking out the window watching the beast roar past and leave a trail of snow, snowmen and Igloo’s in its wake, Cabin fever is at an all-time high. So hopefully we can get out on solid ground this week and get a bit of training in and with all sports cancelled this weekend due to the snow it’s a case of will races be re scheduled or will they be abandoned.
Big in the news this week is the Sir Bradley Wiggan’s story as he is supposed to have taken substances which are known to enhance performances. His line is that he was ill and this was his medication, god I wish when I was ill I could win the tour de France imagine what a person could do when they were healthy. These stories have been rumbling around for years in cycling and in athletics, everyone is so shocked by them. To think that someone would cheat in sport to look for an advantage it’s disgraceful. How dare they do this and pretend that its ok and to try and pull the wool over our eyes and make fools out of us, you and I would never cheat, we would never look for an advantage, you want to win clean, you want to win with honour because otherwise you are not really the best you are just a cheat, or are you?
I have been involved in sport for years training kids and participating myself as well as watching all other types of sport, so where does the cheat idea come from. As kids we all have a competitive spark in us, we want to win, we want to cut corners, they want to get a head start, they will start in front of the line if we can, they see nothing wrong with pulling a shirt or maybe tripping someone up. This is all quite natural, a will to win, a need to win, what can you do sur, there only kids and it’s all just a bit of fun. So as coaches it’s up to us to correct this attitude, or is it, how many kids have won a match or a race because a coach told them to pull a lad down how many times have we seen it in Hurling or Football or a Rugby match where a player is blatantly fouled to save a score to win at all costs. What would you do? Who is clean and what is clean how far do we allow a sport or a person to go before we say YOU ARE A CHEAT. We are outraged by someone cheating and our team being beaten as a result, and on the other hand if one of our player’s cheat and we win as a result, we say fair play only for him/her the saved us.
So how did Sir Bradley get himself in such a pickle, he is not the only one to have taken these substances, he more than lightly rubbed someone up the wrong way and now he is cannon fodder, I am not saying he is a cheat or not. We all look for that advantage if we are honest anyone who is competitive will push it to the limit, it starts with a change of diet, specialised training. Someone tells you they use a certain drink and it gives them a boost, as time passes you get better and now you are about to break into the National squad, it’s just you are at your limit every fibre in your body is at its limit and you just can’t see where you can get that little extra from, you need that edge that little bit and someone says take a puff on your inhaler and see how you go. What inhaler I’m not asthmatic, well go to the Doctor and get one and that will give you the 5% you need, tempting isn’t it? If you are a professional sports person what’s it worth to you to go from second to first? Sports careers are short if you don’t make it what are you left with, What’s the next step? Maybe a blood transfusion or a special medication which can only be taken when you are sick but the knock on effect is you could win the Tour de France in a months’ time. What are you willing to do? What do you think? What’s acceptable?