Ain't No One Making Me Pee Into a Cup!

And our children shouldn't be subjected to it, either.

For the record, I avoid legal drugs of any kind. I haven’t laid eyes on as much as an antibiotic in over six years. And the best reason for my boycott are those insipid TV pharmaceutical ad addendums. With side effects like that, I’ll take the disease, thank you very much!

Sure, I might have “inhaled” once or twice in my long-gone youth, but that turned out to be an entirely worthless proposition. If I really want to get hungry, lazy and paranoid, I’ll just watch Fox News.

As for narcotics, I have enough trouble with this reality, let alone having to contend with a second.

Though there’ve been threats to revoke my hard-won opinion columnist credentials, I pretty much just say no to hard liquor, too. For most 53-year-olds, the negatives far outweigh the fleeting benefits.

So even though I have nothing to worry about, the one thing I can say for certain in this life is I will never subject myself to the humiliation of a drug test in any way, shape or form.

It just ain’t gonna happen!

And no son of mine (I don’t have daughters) will ever be randomly tested for performance enhancing drugs by a group of urine “collectors” sanctioned by the obviously incompetent IHSA, either.

The April 11 farce to which I’m directly referring started with Geneva High School being randomly selected as their most recent drug-testing site. I can just see those IHSA mopes now, sitting at the bar, eating their chicken wings, lighting up a camel, and drinking a pint of Guinness as they pull a high school name from the hat.

If I could say I’m not trying to illustrate the height of hypocrisy by juxtaposing our questionable choices with the far higher standards we thrust upon our children—with a straight face—then I’d certainly be IHSA material.

But I can’t.

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, they “randomly” select 12 lucky student athletes—not even a baker’s dozen—to undergo the performance-enhancing drug testing.

There are 24 separate GHS sports programs, which means there are somewhere around 1,200 student athletes. And somehow testing 1 percent of that population is supposed to be an effective method of deterring the school-wide steroid abuse?

I’ll take those odds any day!

Here’s a thought. Remember when Sammy Sosa morphed into Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight and suddenly started hitting home runs in every at bat? There are certain visibly obvious side effects that go along with steroid use, not the least of which is a massive personality change. Perhaps then, random testing might not be the best methodology if for no other reason than it doesn’t work and something else does.

Now, put yourself in your 14-year-old daughter’s new Nikes. It’s her first year of high school, and she’s thrilled to be a part of the top-flight cross country program like the one at GHS. Then, one day, a stranger shows up with a beaker and says, “Don’t worry honey—just pee into this while I stand outside the stall.

If you harbor any doubts as to just how humiliating the testing process is, please click on this link and scroll down to Appendix A (page 7) where the procedure is laid out in 30 separate points. Yes 30!

Let’s just say I hope your son doesn’t have a shy bladder! Because if he does, he could be forced to drink a “sealed fluid approved by the collector,” and the “collector” will stand there until he “complies.”

And the results are supposed to be confidential! You mean, just like Lance Armstrong’s confidential 2001 Tour de France test results that were splashed all over a French newspaper despite that fact that WADA is supposed to be a consummate professional organization?

It’s not like the IHSA has ever been involved in any kind of scandal before. Oh, no! Well … other than all those missing tickets at an AA boys soccer final, the lack of any investigation into that Antioch High School grade tampering, the fact that they can’t provide referees capable of stopping racial taunts at St. Charles soccer games, the missing 1995 AA state wrestling final, the fact that Springfield had to intervene after the IHSA tried to illegally restrict the use of press photographs … Should I go on?

Tell you what, School District 304! You tell the IHSA that academic institutions aren't gulags and any form of drug testing in those hallowed halls doesn’t fit into your mission statement. It makes innocent kids feel like criminals, and it serves no purpose other than to make folks who couldn’t find their way out of a locked car feel like they’re doing something about a problem when they’re actually doing less than nothing.

Please tell those excellent district teachers that they’re doing a fine job bringing my boys up to speed on subjects like quadratic equations and chemical compounds. But when it comes to moral issues like taking performance-enhancing drugs, that’s my job, and I resent the random testing implication that I’m not doing my job.

You’ll know I need your help when I specifically ask for it. Until then, I’ve got it covered.

The irony is, while I certainly don’t need anyone to protect me from myself, we  sure need someone to protect us from the likes of the IHSA. As the kids might say, “guilty until proven innocent sucks!”

Pat Ryan April 16, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Your quotation button is stuck, dude. Also, let's stop hating on conservatives, I'm incredibly liberal, and I disagree with most things conservatives have to say, but it's always good to listen to those you disagree with. Conservative ideals are not wrong, they're just different from Liberal ideals. Both sides are just as correct and incorrect as the other. Secondly, comparing the over-medication of the masses through analysis and prescription to the use of weed and other drugs purchased by some seedy fella in a Walmart parking lot is hilariously misinformed. Any system can be gamed, and so, yes, those who wish to medicate themselves needlessly is unfortunate, however, it is within the boundaries of the law. "Probing our bodies for, who knows what (sic)" -Drugs. They're looking for drugs. Or midichlorians. Are you a Jedi? Take a look at it from a non-emotional standpoint. Do you think kids in high school sports should be using drugs? Do you think those responsible for the well being of students should take action to prevent use of substances that are medically proven to harm students? The answer to both of those questions is "Yes," for those of you playing at home. Is it intrusive? Yes. Does it show a strong lack of trust? Absolutely. Would I trust me in high school? Not a chance, and I was one of the good kids. Peeing into a cup is not humiliating. If anything, it's playing Bozo Buckets for big kids, and the grand prize is a job.
Kerri Reese April 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I do feel this is pushing it. If they are so worried why not submit college athletes instead. My problem is that fact that these are juveniles. It is different when they are legal adults. I remember having to sign this as a parent of a student athelete and was a bit appalled.However being an IHSA official, I know exactly why they do things like this...to prevent themselves from getting sued. Now where this fits into that schema I do not know. But I do know from first hand experience they are anal about things that seem silly for the sheer fact that they are trying to cover their butts in case someone sues. Again, not sure how this relates or if it should be done to minors...
Jeff Ward April 16, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Robin, But that ain't how the IHSA does it and it wouldn't make it any better. Jeff
Justin Eggar April 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Your force has grown young padawan.
Justin Eggar April 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
To be honest, there should probably be a study done to see how prevalent this is in high school sports. If its not, there isn't much need to waste the money. If it is or is becoming an issue... Then have at it. Being a high school athlete is not an inalienable right. So, if there is an issue that needs to be addressed then it should be. However, if it's not an issue (hence the study) then we all probably have better things to do with our lives. Jeff, being in the military I had to take drug tests pretty frequently... it's not that bad. Certainly not to the point where you need to drop your spit can and start shooting at strangers.
Martha Hanna April 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that your kids are on drugs...it's the denial part that parents like to play, or it's too hard, just let the schools deal with it. If your kid is taking steroids under a doctor's care that is their business, otherwise parents, if you see changes in your kids take action. We don't need our kids or ourselves drug tested. The war on drugs is a waste of money. A conservative congressman named Ron Paul is totally against drug testing. It is not a blue or red issue, it is a moral issue. IF someone in the schools or workplace is not productive, or calling in sick all the time, or arriving late all the time...you have probable cause for concern...otherwise you are labeling people unjustly. Thank you Nancy Reagan. NOT!
Justin Eggar April 16, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Martha, I agree with much of what you say... And RP has some good ideas. However, this is a discussion about drugs in school sports. This is not a moral issue in the least, unless we want to discuss the morality of wasteful spending to accomplish it. Also, I'm not sure how requiring drug testing is labeling someone... Everybody would be required. So labeling wouldn't apply. To boot, it seems that you aren't bothered by drug use (which I am certainly not judging you for). With that in mind, how would you be bothered by somebody having a label of drug user? Wouldn't you have to be bothered by drug users to dislike the label?
Political PR Machine April 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I thought I heard a badminton player was doping up on steroids to slam the shuttlecock down the opponent's side of the net. I tell you... just can't trust any athlete these days. We ought to drug test politicians and take attendance at all votes. Failure to attend a vote ought to result in loss of benefits and classification as part time employee. I suppose if it is legal and written in an IHSA bylaws yhat everyone agreed to then it can help to prevent unfair competition at events like badminton. They ought to check the refs...particularly the recent ones at girls soccer games...some wicked stuff they must've taken!
Theo April 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM
How would you feel about your kid losing a state championship to a kid who's juicing?
Jeff Ward April 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Theo, They're not testing enough people to catch anyone! 12 athletes per school? And In their headlong quest to be "random" they're not even focusing on the sports that are more likely to juice. But in the end, I'd rather have my child lose than have to undergo a drug test. Jeff
Theo April 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM
In general, I couldn't care less about the choices that others make regarding drugs. Except when their drug use has potential to cause a problem for me, (airline pilot, oncoming driver, etc). I think it's reasonable to try and keep the high school athletic playing field level by policing the use of performance enhancing drugs. I would agree that the tiny sample size doesn't act as much of a deterrent - and I imagine it's cost prohibitive to test every athlete. Perhaps testing the state finalists is the best compromise.
Political PR Machine April 17, 2012 at 01:24 AM
I would hate to see HS kids juice on roids and fear of being caught may help to save some young athlete who is contemplating it...and dopers should be caught and kicked out of sports...it is a serious health issue more than unfair competition issue.
Martha Hanna April 17, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I am just saying if my kid was in sports and he was hoped up on steroids and his muscles in his arms were getting huge, I as a parent would put a stop to it. I the childs parent would notice the change. I know what goes on with athletes and it sickens me. Parents need to get involved, if you suspect in the least take action. Parents can't just expect the schools and the coaches to fix the situation. It starts with the parents at home. period.
Justin Eggar April 17, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Maybe you should ask them their opinion... And let them make the choice. After all, you're not the one that has anything to lose in the ordeal.
Jeff Ward April 17, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Justin, In this unique case, until they're 18, their opinion doesn't matter. Innocent until proven guilty really oughtta mean something. Jeff
Justin Eggar April 17, 2012 at 02:34 AM
I'm not sure we're on the same page. I meant as a parent, not as the school system or IHSA asking their approval. I would hope a parent wouldn't use their children to make personal political points just because they have authority over them until they are 18. Anyways, like I said... if an independent study is done and it concludes that there is a large concern for abuse in the sport, then I'm fully for it. If there isn't, then let's avoid it. I prefer to deal with facts on issues rather than emotions.
Martha Hanna April 17, 2012 at 02:35 AM
If your child is on a strict regimen weightlifting and diet plan and his/or her body builds muscle, OK..but if your kid starts getting buff fast, and you will notice it, it is time to go snooping around in the room, the backback, the car, and if you find pills you can go to a web site and identify them. Andro, Oxandrin, etc. Stay tuned to what your kids are saying are they talking about "getting juiced". Kids are dumb and they leave evidence. My kids used to think I had eyes in the back of my head.
Theo April 17, 2012 at 02:36 AM
You can't tell by looking, Martha. You can have a 17 year old guy who works out hard and is naturally inclined toward muscle growth and can put on 20 lbs of muscle in a year - without anabolic steroids.
Jeff Ward April 17, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Theo, But you can't hide the personality change. I used to have to take prednisone, a steroid, for asthma. My wife used to dread me being on it. Jeff
Justin Eggar April 17, 2012 at 02:43 AM
They are teenagers. If their heads spun around and they spat fire at us we'd blame it on hormones. 99% of the time we'd be right.
Theo April 17, 2012 at 02:43 AM
When you have an adolescent who is suddenly dealing with all kinds of new hormones coursing through his system, yep you may see a personality change. If you think you can tell whether it's natural or artificial by simple observation, you're mistaken.
Jeff Ward April 17, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I have a teenager who can be a real pain because he loves to test limits, but that ain't nuthin' compared to what steroids can do to your personality. And prednisone ain't nuthin' compared to anabolic steroids. Add a personality change to a suddenly buff student and that's all I need. Maybe either one of those changes wouldn't be enough, but both of 'em at the same time is a no brainer. Martha's right. It doesn't take a rocket scientist. Jeff
Theo April 17, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Okay, Jeff.
Justin Eggar April 17, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Don't let it bother you Theo... They both once saw a teenager on TV using steroids and he was super easy to spot. It was like super parent training.
Bob McQuillan April 17, 2012 at 04:02 AM
This is an non-issue in Geneva. Whenever there is a drug sweep of the middle schools or high school using trained dogs, no drugs are found. Thus, no teenagers in Geneva use drugs. Thus no need for drug tests. Case closed. Also, since enrollment at the high school is less than 2,000, I would doubt that there are 1,200 student athletes. The number is probably closer to 600-700. Maybe Mr. Ward should file a FOIA request to see how many students actually participate in the 24 sports programs.
Jeff Ward April 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Just and Theo, Let's not lose sight of the main issue which is random drug testing is unconstitutional. Just because someone said it isn't doesn't make it true. No one in the country is guilty until proven innocent. That said, here's what I want you to do. Get your doctor to prescribe an anti-inflamatory steroid and take it for just one week. That's long enough for the side effects I'm talking about, but not long enough to do any real damage. Then report back. Jeff
Ken S April 17, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I know they do that for football and I assume they do it for all sports. When Geneva played in the state finals in football a few years ago my son was randomly chosen for a drug test after the game.
Jim Ryan April 17, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Bob Although your logic to close this case extremely fallacious, it does uncover an excellent opportunity whereby the city of Geneva can reduce its tax requirements on the residents. Since we now know that Geneva teenagers don't use drugs, we can now get rid of any city budget-related law enforcement programs (and people). I just wish there was someone who could thrust your findings under the collective noses of city hall. On another note, I don't know that a FOIA to determine the number of student athletes would produce anything other than a number(whether it's 300 or 1800), the point of this opinion piece is related to subjecting high school athletes to meaningless tests. When the athletes that today's teens want to emulate flunk these same tests, there is always high stakes legal wrangling aimed at overturning the results so the party can continue.
Bob McQuillan April 18, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Jim "There are 24 separate GHS sports programs, which means there are somewhere around 1,200 student athletes." When an opinion piece states numbers as fact, they should be verified. The school drug sweep results are as realistic as random testing of athletes. Both provide false hope that any real problem is being handled.
Pat Ryan April 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM
A drug test isn't a conviction. It's like having to blow for a BAC test on the side of the road. Blowing into the breathalizer doesn't send you to jail. Driving drunk does. Taking a drug test doesn't mean you take drugs. Taking drugs means you take drugs.


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