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This idea was actually explored in a mid-'90s Saturday Night Live sketch, in the specific sport of weightlifting. Phil Hartman, hopped up on 'roids, tore his arms off, you may recall.
Note from Scott: So, Missy was looking at the comments and said that more than one reader had mentioned an SNL sketch about unlimited steroid use in sports. I immediately saw in my head the image of Phil Hartman ripping his arms off. I don't know what to say except that I didn't think of that sketch while I was writing this comic, despite what Rick says in panel two, I know it's not really a particularly new idea, and that I miss Phil Hartman.
By power of Greyskull make this league happen
Is that last line intended in a tone of agreement, to mean "see, turns out I do understand professional sports" (ie. "that's the intent"), or a tone of disdain, to mean "looks like it's actually you that doesn't understand professional sports" (ie. "professional sports are already like that")? It works fine either way, I'm just curious!
Reminds me of this SNL sketch:http://www.hulu.com/watch/4090
Sports players shouldn't do drugs because kids look up to them.
Then again, kids are short and look up to everybody.
In panel 2, Rick is wrong: this is not a new idea. Saturday Night Live did a bit about the All-Drug Olympics back in 1988: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4090 (sorry, the link will only work in the USA)
Sums up NASCAR in a four panels. I really think they need to check out the Sprint Cup #48 team. There's something in their water.
The irony is that the performance enhancing use of steroids was discovered when doctors started using them because they caused faster healing of sports injuries.
Not a new idea:
I heard one of the commentators on ESPN radio promoting this same new, bad idea within the past few days. His line: with proper guidance, athletes could use PED's in a safe way, and cheaters would then have no advantage.
I like this idea! I don't know why we got on Lance Armstrong's case for using drugs while cycling. I did that once, and I hit a dog and fell into the canal.
My thoughts exactly, Scott.
In a regulated "enhanced league" industry would spend huge sums on safe, useful drugs which would have ripple effects as people discovered they were also useful for treating medical conditions.
We need the massive investment that commercial sports can bring. We can't let ourselves be blinded by blanket statements like "Drugs are bad" when there are hundreds of millions of people who depend on drugs - the medicinal kind - to live and live well.
If even one drug makes the jump from enhancing athlete performance to helping the infirm or dying, we've successfully improved humanity. We owe it to those people to give it a shot.
Eddie Izzards new tour has something like this, he does a bit on what the tour de france would be like if they where allowed to take lots of drugs.
That is perhaps the one idea that would make sports worth watching.
I think people often overlook the side effects to steroid abuse that hurt people other than the user, such as roid rage.
Organized athletics are already a scourge on society, encouraging the public to engage in tribalism, to think in terms of continuous warfare, and to prizeviolence over intelligence. The ridiculously vast sums of money involved inspire the poorest of our youth to pursue athletics at the expense of education, and to allow those who do so to get away with anything as long as they score.
It's hard to imagine a way to make athletics worse, and I'm not sure that Scott has done it.
"I think people often overlook the side effects to steroid abuse that hurt people other than the user, such as roid rage"
That's right. They'd make trillions!
You don't have to come up with a new idea for every strip, you just have to say it better than anyone else and that's what you've always done. Keep up the good work. :)
@Gavin: You mean, like, the Tour is now? I'm sure the bit is funny and has a slightly different premise, but cycling has been tarnished by its athletes doing crazy stuff to get ahead since (I believe) roughly the 60's. The Tour de France has had more than one death from amphetamine overdose combined with overexertion. These days, the drugs are designer and other techniques are used as well (blood doping, etc.), but it's still the same. Bunch of jacked-up guys sacrificing their bodies for a small chance at glory, which lines up very well with the comic.
I'm not sure that those tasked with overseeing/preventing such matters are terribly invested in doing so. Furthermore, the culture among cyclists, just as in baseball a few years back, is "Everyone else is doing it, what the hell, why not?".
Wonder what our accomplishments would be like if schools encouraged academics the way they encourage sports, and the media gave as much attention to the money the top nerds make as they now give to the money the top athletes make...We'd totally lead the world in invention, science, and all non-violent accomplishment...The way we used to...
Just to cover all the bases (no pun intended). Here's comedian John Witherspoon's take on athletes and steroids! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTy_gLF8zR0
There are places that value intellect as a spectator sport: think the Russians and chess. The Koreans throw aside the Zen and beauty of GO and make it a televised head-to-head competition. And I assume it is true for cricket too because every match is a test.
A wonderful take on the idea.
Far older than the SNL skit links.
Achilles Choice - by Larry Niven has two sets of olympic style games running next to each other. One enhanced and one pure.
(link included that uses Scott's affiliate link to the book)
Has anybody mentioned yet that this was a Saturday Night Live skit?
Welcome back to our coverage of the Altered Olympics 2153, brought to you by Glaxopfizerbeyjohn - Whatever your problem, there's a drug for that! The judges have just reviewed the extra-high-speed footage of the 100m Sprint for Users of Trioxyhypernitrohexelane-4 and we will be seeing the medal ceremony shortly. Coming up, we have a few events for the traditionalists: Weight-lifting on Steroids and Road Cycling on EPO, bless their old-fashioned GMO-cotton socks! Remember, folks, those events are shown in real time, so they will seem a lot longer than you're used to!! Later on today we also have Genetically-engineered Gymnastics, Psychotropic Synchronised Swimming and this year's new event: Steeplechase on Six-legged Horses, what an exciting spectacle that will be!
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