Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The winner


This is the photo from the NYT announcing that Justine Henin had beat Serena Williams in straight sets.

This is just a guess:

Chin/Jaw? That's a lot of chin.

Musculature of biceps and forearm: Is it an arm...or, a leg?

Breasts? AWOL, it would seem.

Likelihood this athlete is juiced? Who knows? Pro athlete? Pretty high.

I've been playing handball/racquetball for 47 years, started it at 17. It is a challenging game, mostly one-on-one (more and more it's a doubles game for guys my age, two-on-two) and after playing a long match I feel good-but-spent. Next day I hurt. Time for Vitamin I (eye), that's Ibuprofen. Actually, skipping the analgesic is OK. A half hour of warming up--throwing and hitting--gets rid of the soreness, or, at least, puts it off 'til after the game.

So, I'm drugged, too--playing with an artificial boost from something (thank you, God) that lets me sleep and keeps the ache at a distance.

But, young players injecting exotic designer drugs/hormones/steroids to increase muscle mass (and jutting jaws) is something else. Bonds chasing the record, Olympic swimmers, Tour de France cyclists, high schoolers. It seems to be more the rule than the exception.

I'm from the Ben-Gay league. The analgesic fumes in the locker room are near-toxic. And, we all know that we are playing at the limits of what aging bodies (supplemented by a dollop of bullshit/bluster and an occasional really good shot) can sometimes deliver.

Something pushes this generation to want to live in a drug-soaked and dishonest world. These kids are gonna make themselves sick, maybe kill themselves, long before their time. Do they enjoy the play? Or does their kick come only after a WIN, a big purse, a tell-all photo in The New York Times.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.