With formerly revered cyclist Lance Armstrong spilling it all to Oprah Winfrey this past week about cheating and using performance-enhancing drugs — one of the most high-profile instances of cheating in professional sports — Patch asked readers and a couple of local coaches about what kind of effect Armstrong’s admissions had on local student athletes and if pure sportsmanship is a thing of the past with everyone wanting a boost to compete.
Here are some of your thoughts, thanks for keeping the discussion going:
“Unfortunately at the top levels of sport the attitude seems to be cheat or be cheated. At every level athletes are looking for an edge on their competition. One of the things that upset me in my last years of coaching was the belief that you couldn't compete without special drinks. Now it is 5 Hour Energy and Red Bull. It starts small. Many young people (and some of their parents) believe these are performance enhancers and to keep up, or get ahead, that's what they have to do. At the elite level, I can only imagine. Gatorade is where it begins. No one can play any kind of a game or match without Gatorade. But to stretch it from Gatorade to EPO is a bit of a reach, but that's where we started.” — Jim Underwood, retired Mattituck track and cross country coach
“Good morals and values are things that should be taught by all coaches. Especially with young athletes, you have to stress to them about how important it is to be a good person and win the right way. To make them more ready for the real world we should not be teaching them short cuts, but instead driving them to work their hardest to achieve their goals.” — Cory Dolson, Mattituck wrestling coach
“For his drug taking there is no excuse and it is so sad how many children and adults who looked up to him have this great disappointment. It will be up to parents to try to explain to their kids why it is not always about winning. But we also need to look at how Armstrong and Winfrey are using the platform of the media to their own advantage. To teach children when they do something wrong to admit guilt as soon as possible and not stall and call the people around them liars. Oprah and Lance are both guilty of using the TV special for their own benefit. I for one will not waste my time watching them.” — Walter Chadwick
“The 'win at all costs' mentality is ruining society in general, not just sports.” — Caroline Penny MacArthur
“The message is... it’s wrong. Quite clearly. The bigger problem is teaching kids how to LOSE. It’s just as important. We learn from our failures. We can’t win all the time but we can strive to get better and have dignity and win with ethics and never look back. That has to be learned at home. You don’t learn from the news and idols. They inspire. You learn values at home. Life is a choice. Make the right ones!” — Gregg Charles