A Cautionary Tale

When an athlete fails a drug test it isn’t newsworthy anymore. It happens so frequently to professionals and amateurs alike. No-one really pays attention.

The process has become ritual, a dance we all know so well. There is shock and denial at first. Then the suggestion the results are tainted, or the athlete took something unknowingly. This is followed by suspension and (sometimes) redemption.

A Canadian athlete I had never heard of before, a world record holder, was in the news this week for failing a drug test. His samples (urine I presume) showed traces of cocaine. He protested, he denied, there was an investigation – and it ‎turns out that he had not taken the drug, at least not knowingly. But the test was accurate, and his actions had introduced the cocaine into his system.

Therein lies our tale, which should be one to make young athletes (and really anyone) think about the consequences of risky behaviour.

The cocaine had gotten into his system through kissing someone he didn’t know was a cocaine user. Traces of the drug were transferred from her lips and saliva. Truth is, he didn’t know anything about her. Desiring sex, he had placed a personal ad on a popular website and she responded. I don’t know whether he paid for the encounter or whether it was free. I suppose it doesn’t matter

You would think an athlete, especially a world champion with Olympic aspirations, would be a bit more careful. Obviously you would be thinking wrong. He is too young to remember the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, when such casual pickups could easily result in a death sentence. But there are other almost as nasty things you can acquire through sexual contact, especially with people you don’t know very well. I did see an article maybe a year back that said that sexually transmitted diseases were increasing in our society, and suggested that mobile apps and certain websites that promoted casual sex were contributing to that. The article didn’t call it an epidemic, but it was implied.

All of which has me thinking about changes to our society’s sexual mores. At the moment I am not sure there are any standards. The rebellious mantra of the 1960s, “if it feels good, do it,” has apparently become the mainstream. Right or wrong is not part of the debate. It seems to me that brings huge consequences in terms of disease and social order.

It isn’t politically correct to bring up the cost of so-called “free love;” it is even less accepted to suggest that the Christian sexual ethic, as explained by Jesus and his followers in the Bible, would be a better norm.

As a society we have apparently moved on from the idea of lifetime monogamous relationships and the traditional concept of marriage. It doesn’t look to me to have been a change for the better. The idea of sex as a sacrament has been replaced by sex as an itch to be scratched.

There are consequences to scratching that itch. As one young athlete has found out. This time he got lucky. Next time he might not.

I wonder if he has learned a lesson? I hope so, but somehow I doubt it.

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One comment

  1. Well-written

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