1. What is it about August?
Yesterday, the thought crossed my mind that I might write a little post explaining the real meaning of "the mark of Cain," an expression almost always misused. But a small voice in the back of my head said, "You've done that." So I went looking, and sure enough, almost exactly one year ago, in a post I wrote on the 12th of August, there was the explanation. Maybe it is a religious thing that I feel I must do once a year.
2. Performance enhancing drugs.
First it was Lance Armstrong. Then it was Roger Clemens. Now it is Alex Rodriguez. There seems always to be some sports hero who is dragged low by the revelation that he took proscribed performance enhancing drugs. I have to confess that I do not feel a rush of censorious disapproval when the news breaks. Everybody acts as though the drugs magically turn an ordinary nobody into a superstar. Fat chance! Take whatever drugs you wish and then try to get your bat on a major league fastball, let along hit it out of the park. Shoot up steroids until you look like the Incredible Hulk and you will still probably not make it through the first day of the Tour de France. These guys are extraordinary athletes. They are expected to adopt a regimen of diet and training and coaching for years on end unlike anything the rest of us have ever experienced. So far as I am concerned, if the regimen includes drugs, so be it. Their achievements are still the stuff of legends.
Let's face it. Chariots of Fire or no Chariots of Fire, big league athletics today is not the idle amusement of fit young gentlemen sportsmen.