Saving the World One Teen at a Time - Column on Parenting Tweens and Teens

Everyone Cheats?

by Abby Margolis Newman


Well, the New York Yankees are going to the World Series again -- and boy, am I relieved. My youngest son, Henry (age 10) is a passionate and loyal Yankee fan, and frankly, I feared the emotional consequences if the Yanks had lost the ALCS to the Angels. Two years ago, when the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs, Henry cried as if his heart were broken. (I was a die-hard New York Knicks fan when I was his age and used to cry whenever the Knicks lost, so he comes by his feelings honestly.)


A few weeks ago, when the L.A. Dodgers were still competing for the National League Championship against the Phillies, I overheard a conversation between Henry and his oldest brother, Jonah (age 16, an ardent Red Sox fan), which went something like this:


Jonah (referring to current Dodgers player and ex-Red Sox Manny Ramirez): Manny's not doing that well this year.
Henry: That's because he's not on the "juice" anymore.
Jonah: A-Rod took steroids too!
Henry: Yeah, but that was in 2004.


Ever since the Barry Bonds scandal (which hit us hard here in the San Francisco Bay Area) and the 2007 George Mitchell report on the usage of steroids in baseball, there's been a lot of discussion in our home about who is and who is not on "the juice." When it was reported earlier this year that A-Rod (Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, one of the team's stars) admitted taking steroids, Henry wept once again. He was shattered by this news.


The worst part about this whole thing is that, while the boys were upset about Bonds, the Mitchell Report, and the news about A-Rod, they were not particularly surprised. As long as they have been paying attention to baseball, steroids have been part of the story. Rumors of players taking performance-enhancing illegal drugs have been around almost as long as the boys have been alive. They see it as just another part of baseball: some players cheat.


This brings to mind the 1919 World Series, when several Chicago White Sox players, including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, conspired with gamblers to throw several games. This had a seismic effect on American baseball fans. There was utter disbelief, shock, horror--people simply could not comprehend that their heroes, these baseball players whom adults admired and boys wanted to emulate, could possibly be so dishonest, could dishonor the game in this way.


Mr. Bush did make many mistakes while President, however, he didn't re-invent the wheel. There are many things that have gone on for years and no one seemed to care. He should be held to a higher standard, but do you honestly think he came up with all of this on his own. I don't. My understanding of politics is cheating, lying and lawbreaking. It happens everyday. It's in our schools, churches, playgrounds etc...It's never who you are, but who know. It's mostly abuse of power I believe. People in positions of power set the tone, whether it's your employer, or the leader of your PTA. We live in a world where media runs ahead of us. What happens every where at any given time is recorded in some way or another. I believe it is because of this immediate dissemination of information that this is now coming to light. There is no way to hide it. I want to believe that my kids will know better. I hope that they learn that cheating will get them nowhere, lying will get them in trouble, and of course lawbreaking will put them in jail.


Your son, Henry, seems to take this "Juicing" very seriously if he cried. He must have some good values.

There is a climate of corruption and lies that is very disturbing. I worry about all my children and grandchildren dealing with people who cannot be trusted. In our family we made clear the most important quality that we needed was to trust our children and they to trust us.


Ugh, so true.
What you say about Pres. Bush and other "leaders" is so true.

So sad to think of how this effects children and potentially the outcome of how they carry themselves in the future, as adults in society.