While Alex Rodriguez has disappointed millions of sports fans in the previous two weeks, his greatest victim to-date could be the integrity the Florida High School Athletic Association. The FHSAA announced today that due to recent revelations in the Alex Rodriguez steroid controversy they will end a statewide drug-testing program for high school athletes.
“It’s a shame that [the drug testing program] had to end this way,” laments FHSAA spokeswoman Colleen Clemons. Clemons, like many other Florida high school officials, believes that the testing program was introduced to maximize benefits from the overwhelming negative attitude towards performance-enhancing drugs. Unfortunately for these officials, Alex Rodriguez’s recent admission of steroid use changed the image of performance-enhancing drugs forever in the state of Florida. “Alex is a popular sports figure in Florida, and his admission to steroid use could wreak havoc upon the integrity of Florida high school sports.”
Broward County Superintendent Dr. Matthew McGuire agrees with Clemons as to the reach of the A-Rod scandal. “[Alex Rodriguez] is a Florida native, born and raised in nearby Miami-Dade County. What the rest of the country fails to understand is that in Florida Alex is not just a baseball player— he is an icon.” McGuire believes that while the FHSAA testing program had been effective, A-Rod’s revealed steroid use will encourage high school athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs more than ever, resulting in an “A-Rod Boom” of steroid use. “If I were a high school athlete I would want to be just like A-Rod,” Added McGuire, “I would work hard, train every day, and if I had to use under-the-counter Dominican drugs to be like him, I would inject those too.”
Matthew McGuire is not the only proponent of the “A-Rod Boom” theory. Several FHSAA officials have agreed that while drug-testing is important, the money would be wasted if the end-result was suspending sixty-percent of the athletes tested. FHSAA Regional Director Cameron Boone concurred this belief. “I want to preserve the integrity of sports as much as everyone else, but when something this influential hits center-stage in American sports, you cannot blame these kids for wanting to juice.” According to Boone, the A-Rod appeal overwhelms an athlete’s desire for integrity. “Every athlete wants to achieve greatness, and Alex has shown the world that the fast-track to greatness comes in a prescription bottle.”
While this is not the end of drug testing in Florida high school sports, it is certainly the beginning of a long vacation. Experts predict the “A-Rod Boom” to carry over until five years after his retirement from Major League Baseball. With Alex Rodriguez still only 33 years old, it seems likely that Florida is facing fifteen or more years of high school sports without steroid testing. When the dust settles after A-Rod hangs up his cleats, the FHSAA plans to revisit the idea of steroid testing, but the damages against athletic integrity over the next fifteen years, if left unaddressed, could prove irreparable.
Colleen Clemons refuses to give up on the FHSAA drug testing policy. While she admits the defeat of FHSAA steroid testing, she expects to be the first administrator advocating its return when Alex Rodriguez retires from baseball. “This program was new,” Clemons contends, “and before it had a chance to blossom, its stated goal was virtually made impossible by the ‘A-Rod Boom.’”
Alex Rodriguez was unavailable for comment.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you hadn’t caught on, this is a piece of satire. All names are fictional (and eerily similar to steroid all-stars Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Bret Boone), and the quotes were fabricated by the author. In truth, the end of the FHSAA testing program had nothing to do with the A-Rod scandal. Instead, it was a legitimate financial decision based on a cost-benefit analysis of the program’s results.