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AS MY FRIEND Smokey would say, “I may be wrong as I usually am”, and I sincerely hope that I am.
I have recently read two articles in the NATION: See Drugs And Leave Them” on Saturday, November 4, 2017, and Marvellous In Prison on November 8, 2017. I would like to believe that I have misinterpreted both of them.
In the first article, Terrence Bowen has confessed to a life in which he has abused drugs, telling lies to and stealing from his family to support the habit. He has been to Verdun House and despite acknowledging the benefits to be derived from that institution, he prefers to rehabilitate himself whilst living near the pedestrian bridge which connects the River Van Stand to River Road.
He has spurned overtures from his sister to return to the family home, preferring to live off the charity of passers-by.
He readily admits the havoc which the misuse of drugs has caused in his life but said he wanted to be an example for at-risk youth who might find themselves in the wrong company.
I would have thought that if he was so concerned about setting an example for the youth, that he would have availed himself of the helping hand offered by his sister and Verdun House, tried to reintegrate himself into society and soughtto be a loving father to his two children, rather than living as a vagrant.
With regard to the other article, Melvin “Marvellous” Anthony, a professional bodybuilder of some renown, has found himself serving two ten-year prison sentences in Mississippi for several drug and firearm charges.
His CV as a professional athlete is quite impressive, but what has attracted my attention more than his success is the apparent general acceptance by the writer of the article of the road which he took to achieve that goal. It is taken for granted that this is the pathway to success.
The following are direct quotes from the article:
“Anabolic steroids have been criminalised since the early ’90s in the United States and these drugs are a staple in bodybuilding culture. The thing with that is [that] bodybuilders ultimately have to break the law in order to compete in the sport that they are involved in.
“Using anabolic steroids, HGH, and other bodybuilding drugs is illegal without a doctor’s prescription. The athlete has to involve criminal activity in his life in order to compete as a bodybuilder, and oftentimes they have to peddle steroids in order to support their own steroid use and lifestyles.
“Bodybuilding doesn’t pay what other sports do, so most pros have to find an alternate source of income unless they are winning the Olympia every year.”
With the exception of cricket, no other sport has brought as much fame and recognition to Barbados as bodybuilding. In fact, Antoinette Downie has just copped second place in another international contest and just guest-posed, together with Phil Heath, the reigning Mr Olympia, at last weekend’s Darcy Beckles Classic.
In this age of WADA and the emphasis which is placed on the detection of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, I would love to believe that the above extracts are examples of what previously obtained in the sport, and that our Bajan athletes would not fall victim to such nefarious activities.
The article however appears pellucidly clear, but I would dearly love to believe that it is not so.
It may be a case of over-reaction on my part to these two articles and as my friend Smokey would say, “I may be wrong as I usually am” – and I sincerely hope that I am.
– ROLLINS HOWARD