Drug testing, Melky Cabrera, and competing clean

While plugging away at the office today I received a surprise visit from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, fondly known to athletes as USADA. The world of drug testing is new to me (I'd never been tested before) so today's experience peeing in a cup was a first.

I'm more than happy to provide a urine sample to USADA - I'm glad for the chance to prove that I compete clean. I just wish there was a slightly less awkward way to do so... peeing in a cup, in front of someone you just met, in the public bathroom at your workplace is NOT what I had in the plans for today!

But I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm actually kind of pumped about being tested. As my coworker put it, it's pretty cool to be running fast enough for USADA to send a woman to my office to watch me pee in a cup ;)

Drug testing and doping has been a hot topic of conversation at my work, as my fellow SF Giants fans were devastated to hear about Melky Cabrera testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Some coworkers were bummed out because of what this means for the Giants' playoff hopes, but I was more upset about the fact that the actions of yet another athletic star have tainted the integrity of sport.

Melky Cabrera
In the wake of Melky's positive test, Flotrack contributer and friend Kevin Selby wrote a post titled, "Dopers Taint The Next Generation of Fans." In it, he argues that dopers distract everyone from the game itself - I couldn't agree more. Dopers like Melky destroy the integrity and purity of competition. My response? WTF Melky - shame on you!

Melky testing positive really strikes a nerve because my youngest brother, Bryce, idolizes Giants stars like Buster, Timmy, and Melky. When Bryce heard about Melky's positive test, his first reaction was not one of anger or frustration but rather a wishful hope that maybe Melky had accidentally taken cough syrup and that was the cause of his positive test. Upon hearing this, I was fuming - angry that my little brother's idol had let him down, mad that someone who should be a role model to youth made poor choices.

Because that's what this all comes down to - choice. Athletes CHOOSE to compete clean, we CHOOSE to play fair and follow the rules. Melky didn't. Two of my former track & field idols didn't - Marion Jones, Regina Jacobs. When someone makes the decision to dope - to cheat - they don't just destroy their own credibility, they also ruin the integrity of sport. 

SF Chronicle reporter Scott Ostler sums up the far-reaching consequences of Melky's choices: "Anything the Giants might do in the playoffs is now tainted. If they win the World Series, when they raise their championship flag, it will have a giant invisible asterisk, bigger than the Giants' logo." (read the full article here.) A dark cloud will be cast over any Giants accomplishments...

I like this quote from Ostler: "If you're caught [doping], you don't wallow in the mud alone; you drag the whole team into the sty." And in less-popular sports like track & field, dopers don't just drag themselves and their teams into the sty - they bring down the entire sport.

So USADA, come visit me any time, any place. I'm more than happy to pee in a cup for you! :) Thanks for the work you do to protect the rights of athletes who compete clean!

Agree? Similarly angry with dopers? Share this blog on Twitter with the hashtag #icompeteclean