05.22.08 (7:48 am)   [edit]
The Ongoing “Scandal” of “Steroids” in Sport “Well put me in coach, I’m ready to play today…Look at me…I could be…centerfield.” Creedence Clearwater Revival Welcome back friends and haters alike! Thank God Spring has sprung, and the Major League baseball season is finally here! It’s time to dial up the 100 mile per hour heaters and bring some heavy lumber! I, for one, want to see some 500 foot blasts to dead center field. I am a sports fan friends,particularly football. The spring games in college football have come and gone, and it’s looking like another awesome season to come for our beloved Ohio Sate Buckeyes. Personally, I’m already jacked up for the trip to California to face the ‘mighty Trojans.' This is the year that Coach Tressel evens his record in BCS Championship games. Virtually everyone is coming back and Chris Wells will be a juggernaut this season. Mr. Butkus will be Mr. Butkus (by the way, Marcus Freeman plays beside him), our quarterback is a fifth-year senior. I smell another title game friends…GO BUCKS!! Let’s get back to the season at hand. I remember as a young boy,watching with my Dad,as Reggie clobbered those three dingers in the ’78 Fall Classic. My Dad raised me a Yankee fan. Of course, we’re also Reds fans. Is there a baseball fan from that era that doesn’t remember the Big Red Machine? I got to tell you folks, I don’t give a damn what Pete Rose did off the field. He belongs in the Hall. The record he set has a fair chance of never being broken. That particular record had belonged for many decades to Ty Cobb, a Hall-of-Famer. So, ethically and morally, Pete Rose was most definitely not Captain America; however, on the baseball diamond, he will forever be Charlie Hustle. Obviously baseball (as well as other major league sports) has endured its share of scandal with the whole ‘new discovery’ of steroids in the majors. Anyone who can find his or her ass with both hands can see that Barry Bonds is quite bigger than he was when he broke into the show as a slender leadoff hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the day. He was always a great player, a multi-time most valuable player, in fact. However, I am almost certain that he never hit more than 45 homers in a season prior to the year he broke Mark McGuire’s single-season record. That being said, 756 home runs is a monumental achievement. People have a tendency to forget that the 500-plus club is a pretty elite group, and normally partial criteria for induction to the Hall of Fame. Bond’s numbers are nothing short of gaudy; although, if Alex Rodriguez remains healthy and decides he still wants to play, Bond’s career mark won’t stand for long. I still believe in my heart of hearts though, that if Big Mac had stayed healthy, Bonds would be chasing his record. There are some, a lot of people in fact, who say that McGuire, Sosa, Palmiero, and others shouldn’t be considered for induction to the Hall because ‘they cheated’. If that is the case, then Bonds can’t possibly be inducted either. So, tell me, how you can justify keeping the all-time career home run king out of the Hall of Fame. I think that Bond’s comments on his Hall status were arrogant and ill-advised. I am not a Barry Bonds fan, but I cannot help acknowledging his tremendous accomplishments on the field of play. I believe that the whole purpose of the Hall of Fame is to acknowledge the greatest players in the history of the game based purely on their performance on the diamond. Ty Cobb and his accomplishments on the baseball diamond are prominently displayed in the Hall of Fame; although, by many accounts, the man was an asshole. Did he cheat? Who’s to really say definitively? The game has changed, people. The whole issue is more than a little ambiguous. The only people who understand the dynamics of personal fitness training and sport specific training, in particular, are elite athletes and qualified, knowledgeable personal trainers and certified strength and conditioning professionals. As a certified personal fitness trainer knowledgeable in exercise physiology and sport specific training, I can definitively say that, because an athlete stacks on 10-15 pounds of lean mass in the off season is not necessarily an indication of anything more than determination, hard work, and dedication to a solid training program, coupled with the sincere desire to be the best athlete they can be. Let’s dispel another myth while we clear the air here. Ignorant, narrow-minded individuals are fixed on the term ‘steroids’ (this includes prominent members of Congress, as well as some of those in the media). Performance-enhancing supplements are, in no way, limited to anabolic steroids when you get right down to it. A good,complete mutli-vitamin is a performance-enhancing supplement manufactured by man. Protein powders and Creatine Phosphate (that the body produces naturally in modest quantities ), likewise, are performance-enhancing supplements by definition. These supplements aid the cells of the body in recovering from intense bouts of exercise and provide additional spurts of energy needed, particularly in heavy workouts. It is my contention, that if the first ‘performance enhancing supplements’ hadn’t been formulated and marketed, then people in the know would suggest that today’s athletes have an unfair advantage based on highly advanced training techniques not practiced in the Babe’s era. That would be a fairly accurate assessment, by the way. Today’s athletes are increasingly stronger, faster, bigger, and possess significantly more endurance due to modern exercise physiology and a deep understanding of sport-specific training that wasn’t known when Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays were exceptionally-gifted natural talents. I believe that any of us, with even a vague understanding, can accept that last statement as fact. Now people are climbing all over Roger Clemens. Allow me to refresh your memory. The Rocket was dominant as a rookie. Roger Clemens is, without much serious debate, the most dominant pitcher in the modern era, bar none. Maddux is likewise a deserving future Hall of Famer. Their practice and technique on the mound were as different as night and day. Maddux was crafty and had masterful control of his pitches. Clemens simply overpowered hitters with a 100 mile per hour fastball. Both men represent the best of the era and between them have won some 700 combined ballgames. Leave the man and his many CY Young Awards alone (another record that Clemens owns). In all honesty people, if you are a die-hard sports fan, you don’t want to see performance enhancing supplements, in general, banned from sport. Major League baseball understands that the fan wants to see dominant 100-mile per hour pitchers. They want to see 500-foot blasts on the diamond, and exceptional athleticism on the football field, as well as the basketball court. It is the greatness of the Alex Rodriguezs and the Adrian Petersons and LeBron Jamess of competitive athletics that true sport fans want to see. What’s next? Should we tell our athletes they are no longer permitted to retain the services of exceptional personal trainers to improve their athletic performance? Given the advances over the decade in training principles, wouldn’t the ‘purists’ say this is an unfair advantage? Of course, they would. In closing, I am not an advocate of anabolic steroid use, or the use of Human Growth Hormone. My personal feeling is that the results are usually significant; however, the long-term implications of steroid use are not good. Human Growth Hormone has been available for some time, but the long-term detriments are still largely unknown. If you are a competitive athlete trying to improve performance, my advice to you is to seek the services of a certified personal trainer knowledgeable in sport-specific training. If you sincerely want the results and are consistent in your training, the results will come. Call me. I’m still taking new clients! Play ball!!!

05.22.08 (7:24 am)   [edit]
5/22/2008 “Welcome all my friends to the show that never ends…I’m so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside.” In all seriousness, I want to welcome you to what is sure to become one of the most controversial blogs you will ever see. I’ve got a lot weighing on my heart and in my mind, and am not one to let things fester. I would much rather clear the air, speak my piece, and very openly hear any and all responses. A brief introduction would probably be helpful. Some of you may very well know me, though most of you will not. My name is Rob Rayburn. Due largely to family ties, I have been a long-time resident of Chillicothe, Ohio; right smack in the ‘heart of it all’. I spent four years on the East Coast while I served as active duty Navy. I was an airman assigned to Attack Squadron 75, attached to the USS John F. Kennedy. I spent eight months floating around in the Persian Gulf the first time around, so I believe I have some perspective. I am the proud father of three awesomely wonderful children that I would not trade for all the love or money in the world, and an expectant Grandfather. I have seen and experienced much in the time I’ve spent on this planet. A lot of good and a lot of not so much. I am also divorced (proof that I am dead-ass wrong on occasion!). I have seen the small town I live in undergo some dramatic changes over the years. While it’s quite true that Chillicothe has grown exponentially in terms of business and development, it’s not really the neighborly, quiet little town anymore. Every so often, there’s a murder here in town. I am not certain on the numbers; however, suffice it to say that it is much more common today. There was a time, I recall, when car alarms and home security systems were not really thought of. In fact, there really wasn’t a pressing need to lock your doors. In today’s world of crack cocaine, crystal meth, and oxycontin, you bet your ass we lock our doors. That’s a topic on it’s own that I am sure we’ll kick around at some point. Let me get back to me for a minute. I want you to have some idea of who I am and what I am about. I have no deep affiliation with any religion or political party. I can, and do choose to think for myself. I am also very observant of my surroundings and the world around us. I am a news junkie because I like to be informed. I have an opinion on a whole variety of topics and tend to express it freely. Therefore, I make a conscious effort to know what I’m ranting about. I certainly don’t expect you to agree with my views (on occasion perceived as a little extreme), sometimes you will, other times you will not. I am an honest, hard-working American taxpayer and full-time college student,as well as an aspiring entrepreneur. I consider myself to be intelligent and intellectually capable enough to speak my mind freely on the various issues of the day. I will piss some folks off, to be sure. I may enlighten some. What I will always be is consistent, truthful, and forthright to the best of my knowledge. I will try to stir up a good debate regardless of the topic because I believe that it is imperative that we communicate as a free society. I don’t have a secret, hidden agenda; I have my own personal goals, dreams, and plans. I couldn’t care less what color you are. I’ve got friends of all persuasions: black, white, gay, and straight. If you’re a hate-mongering jerk, I don’t like you and it wouldn’t be out of character for me to tell you so. I am a true independent, politically. I hold a lot of core conservative beliefs, but I am also very progressive in my thinking, I believe. I don’t believe in abortion, except in cases of incest, rape, and the mother’s health. That’s one thing that I feel is wrong with our culture today. There is absolutely no accountability anymore. Here’s where I get really radical…I do, wholeheartedly believe in stem cell research. How’s that for extreme?? We have an opportunity through the wonder of science and modern medicine to develop more effective treatments, and even cures, for some of the most debilitating and crippling diseases and ailments known to man. What’s holding up the process? George Bush’s administration certainly hasn’t helped. I also think that we need to recognize civil unions, and grant those same-sex partners the same rights and entitlements that a surviving wife may receive from the passing of her husband, financing, and the like. You may have noticed that I didn’t use the term gay marriage, because (call me old-fashioned and narrow-minded all day long), but I simply can’t come to terms with that verbage. Marriage, as defined in the dictionary,is the "social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc." I have to say, that I am completely sick to my stomach with the PC Police correcting me at every turn and telling me what is considered acceptable terminology or behavior. I am a grown man and I will give respect when given to me. I feel a rant coming on!!! I’ve got some issues with tree-hugging environmentalists. In the event that you people have been living in a hole,under a rock, we are currently choking on an energy crisis. Hey, listen, I’m all for taking care of our planet (within reason). I also happen to like reasonable fuel prices. The problem with the environmental zealots is that, while I am absolutely certain they would favor lower energy costs, they seem to be completely unwilling to tap into our own resources to provide it. Nuclear Power is a much cleaner, more efficient means of generating energy, and is currently in use in various countries; however, these freaks hear the word nuclear, and immediately reject the possibility. At the same time, these assholes tell me that I have no right to drive my gas-sucking SUV (by the way, capable of greater hauling capacity than just about any model of existing hybrid). Hello…I’ve got children to haul around...jerk. I’m not cramming my family into a Toyota Prius. Can we have a serious, productive debate on nuclear energy, wind farms, and other viable alternatives, please? So, what’s the skinny on wind farms?? Anybody got anything? I truly don’t know much about wind farms; however, it seems that the key ingredient necessary to wind energy is (this is crazy!) FREE. The opposition automatically and hysterically screams ‘it will never work. What if there is no wind?!?! ‘Gee, I dunno, what happens if there is no wind?? Can we at least thoroughly research and discuss it??Does anyone else have problems periodically with their electric power provider...American Electric Power?? Does your electric cut in and out on a clear day?? Ours does from time to time. Ethanol is clearly not the answer. Has anyone noticed the price of corn these days? How about the astronomical rise of food cost in general?? No one is growing wheat anymore, mainly because of ethanol production, and we are all paying for it. Heavily. Can we all agree that the price of a gallon of gas is absolutely obscene?? Anyone else pissed off?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I drive for a living, earn a modest wage to begin with, and the stop-and-go city travel is killing my vehicle. I got news for you folks. Until we develop solid, viable, alternative energy sources, or drill and refine more of our own oil, the price of gas will never drop below three dollars a gallon ever again. At this point, there’s only one way it can go…...higher. I am all for drilling for more domestic oil (we have plenty), developing sensible alternative sources of energy,and loosening the Arab grip on our throat. How does our government and big oil really feel about that?? Occasionally, we get the token ‘lip service’, but behind closed doors, how do those in power really feel?? You know, the dreaded ‘r’ word is tossed around in political conversation after conversation. To most of us, the recession is as plain as the nose on your face. It’s happening; although, you would never know it to drive past the Olive Garden on any given day. That parking lot is packed. Day after day. The people who really piss me off are the ones who cry ‘poor mouth’, and have no true concept of what that term means. I was not around personally to witness the Great Depression of the 20’s and 30’s; I can tell you, though, with absolute clarity, that a lot of us are hurting badly. Most of us in that unfortunate plight were not the simple minded fools who went buckshit crazy with their credit. It has been widely acknowledged that predatory lending has, in large part, contributed greatly to our current credit crash. Obviously, there are unscrupulous lenders who will trip over themselves to offer a struggling family a line of credit or a mortgage they can't possibly afford. I’m sorry; but we’re all adults here, and at some point, a little personal responsibility should come into play. If you bought that property on an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) or an ‘interest only loan’, then you, my friend, are a fool. If you just had to have that $500,000 home and could only afford half of that, then that’s your fault. So, tell me, why should it be up to the rest of us to bail your sorry asses out?? They call it a ‘government bailout’ which essentially means that the rest of us hard-working American taxpayers have to eat the bill to undo what you idiots have done through your reckless,giddy spending. I hope you had fun. I feel no sympathy for you. If that sounds a little harsh or conservative, well I suppose that personal accountability and responsibility are conservative principles in nature. The world is on a fast track to hell in a bucket people. Most of it is due to mismanagement (at all levels) and greed, both corporate and personal. I’m so worked up now; I think I may have to eat a xanax or valium to settle my blood pressure and anxiety. If I have managed to piss you off, so be it. Apparently, some of what I have said directly applies to you, or you can relate to. I won’t apologize for it. If our problems can’t be solved through cooperation and rational debate, then maybe it's time to stop the bitching and start the revolution!!