Congressional hearings shed light on steroids

The United States Congress has quite the task on its hands. The prospect of rising gas prices, improving emergency communications, steroids in baseball, and the conflict with Iraq are all concerns.

Wait, steroids in baseball? For some reason, the legislation of performance-enhancing drugs pales in comparison to the nation’s “other” problems. According to USA Today, “there is bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for the crackdown on steroid use in sports.” The paper goes on to reveal that Congress has a “busy” docket this season.

No kidding. Congress may have such a demanding workload because it is attempting to catch up. In July 2005, GQ said that last year’s Congress spent the least time in session since 1950. Since the inception of the Iraq conflict, the House was in session 110 days and the Senate 133 days during this time period. Comparatively, during the Vietnam War (1971) the House was in session 163 days and the Senate 186 days. Congress is meeting less often and not maximizing the time it has at its disposal. Steroid usage in sports – baseball in particular – is a serious issue. Though, I find it hard to believe that the manner warrants congressional attention. Major League Baseball players are studied and adored by numerous youth. Younger players have a tendency to emulate the professional ranks.

Parents, coaches, and health educators must share the leadership role in directing the youth away from experimenting with steroids.

As a baseball fan, I firmly believe in maintaining the integrity of the game. My excitement builds as the MLB playoffs are on the horizon. The fact that more attention is geared toward the steroid hearings than the pennant races is infuriating. Many ESPN and C-SPAN viewers would likely prefer to return to their regularly scheduled programs. If I turn on ESPN, I would prefer to hear the results of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox game than the testimony of MLB commissioner Bud Selig is rather nonessential.

Sen. John McCain said: “Don’t you understand this is an issue of such transcendent importance that you should have acted months ago? The patience of this body…is at an end?” The words spoken by the senator from Arizona are indeed powerful. It’s rather unfortunate that they do not pertain to a more meaningful topic. The crisis in Darfur may have justified such a potent statement. The Associated Press reported that the Senate is considering two bills and the House three, in relation to the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

McCain and his colleagues have expressed that they would rather not form legislation on this manner. Perhaps a hearing should be held on what comprises a productive congressional session..