Performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are in the news again. Not surprisingly, sport seems to remain littered with pharmacological crutches and questionable honesty. Right, wrong, and everything in between on the matter is something for a more philosophical discussion. For the moment, I think Dan Gable legendary wrestler, coach, and competitive freak’s reflection on such matters is interesting. Gable, likely the greatest wrestler ever, has provided some thoughts on opponents on steroids:
If I knew the guy was on steroids, that would HELP me. Whereas some might think ‘oh, he’s cheating’ or he’s got an unfair advantage, for me you didn’t pay the price. You’re not as committed as I am. It’ll tear him apart. He may be strong, but all I have to do during that nine minutes of wrestling is loosen one single wire in his brain, make him do something that isn’t perfect, and he’ll fall apart. That’s what I feel.
Gable is extreme, in his training, commitment, and competitiveness… nonetheless these are interesting words to consider regarding the mental game of PEDs. No doubt this is a unique mindset, yet it is the mindset of a certified champion.
Further reflections on PEDs, the mental game, and character to be posted soon at The Sporting Life. Until then consider the Gable approach, 183-1 with 25 consecutive pins in high school and college, it may not be for everyone, but there is something to it.
Note: Quote from Sheridan’s The Fighter’s Mind.