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Friday, August 05, 2005

Rafael Palmiero and The Joy Of Sport

Economist Russell Roberts of Cafe Hayek discusses Rafael Palmiero's steroid controversy and asks:

Look at Hollywood. How many actresses and actors use plastic surgery to reverse the natural effects of age? It's interesting to compare the outrage people are directing at Palmeiro to how people feel about Hollywood. Is plastic surgery cheating? If the Actors Guild bans plastic surgery, should we take away the Academy Awards and Emmies from those who used silicon and collagen and botox in the past to get what some might call an unfair advantage?

My e-mail to him was:

We expect movie actors to play the role and look the part in a movie. We expect sports to provide us unrehearsed, unexpected moments of purity. In baseball, while the non-fans are disappointed when they witness no home run in a game they attend, I marvel at the tension created by the 1-0 or 2-1 game. Though obviously an artificial reality, I want the athletes to face crisis, overcome adversity, deal with pressure as extraordinary ordinary men. That is how I can apply it to life. None of this is expected when we see Tom Cruise fighting aliens or Nicole Kidman in a love scene.

The finished work of a writer is the writing. If he takes speed to stay awake and write, it does not take away from the art. Many artists are jerk-offs. I am politically the opposite of John Lennon (though I harbor the delusion that had he not been killed over the past 20 years his intelligence would veer him to his natural libertarian leanings) but love his music. Hell, most rockers are Leftists.

Yes, in sports I want my team to win and will allow some marginal cheating like stealing signs. I want the edge of legal faking. I want my wealthy Bosox to trade for the very best players. But I want my athletes to have made it and remain on the top without the enhancement of steroids. Because, corny as it sounds, it is how you play the game that makes it fulfilling.

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