A buddy sent me the recent sad news about Robert Baatz (rhymes with “snots”) and Kimberly Ciolli, the two unfortunate Texas bicycle racers who were caught cheating. It appears that they used anabolic steroids around the time they were racing their bikes and, what’s worse, around the time that the USADA dope testers were wandering around with empty pee cups looking for someone to fill them up.
It’s really awful that a couple of sagbottom masters hackers are taking dangerous pills for little to no performance gain because they aren’t simply cheating their competition, they’re cheating themselves.
Mediocrity isn’t as simple as getting a nice race bike, joining a fancy club, and doping. Any poseur can do that. Flash-in-the-pan half-assedness is as common as your nearest Corvette dealer.
True mediocrity takes a lifetime to achieve and there are no short cuts. Sure, you can dope up and get 15th and people will recognize you as pack fodder. But is that real mediocrity? I say “No.”
Real mediocrity isn’t just shrunken testicles and male-pattern baldness, mediocrity is a lifestyle and it takes decades to perfect. In bike racing, it means getting shouted at, year in and year out, for sucking wheel in the break the entire race only to get last in the break.
Mediocrity means not simply borrowing money from everyone and never repaying it, but never putting in more than $5 for gas when your friend is driving his Sprinter van across the state. You may feel a twinge of ordinariness when that package of syringes arrives from Thorfinn-Sassquatch or from Joe Pappsmear, but the long game, the long buzz, the steady burn of not-really-worth-a-shit only comes from spending years, years I say, of forcing yourself to eat powdered drink mixes that contain kale and beets and still only manage to eke out 37th place.
Drugs are never a short cut to worthlessness. They get you the fame of being a cheating douchebag, or a douching cheatbag, but never with the consistency of having the most expensive stuff money can buy only to get dropped on the easy part of the group ride every single time. To be truly mediocre it takes years to develop the inherent suckiness that is you. It can’t be bought or imported or injected through a needle.
So do yourself a favor the next time you’re wrestling with the “Dope? Not dope?” quandary.
Think about what people will say when you get busted. Instead of saying, “That guy sucks. He is the worst bike racer ever. Why doesn’t he quit?” they will say, “That guy sucks. He is the worst bike racer ever. Why doesn’t he quit?”
The choice is yours. Do you want to earn mediocrity through the slow plodding of a lifetime riddled with failure and decay? Or do you want to achieve instant lameness through a couple of injections and your own clothing line? Will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror when, after getting busted, you get selected for the U.S. Olympic track squad? Will you?
Be inspired by the words of our most famous First Lady, who singlehandedly won the war on drugs with the slogan “Just Say No.”
Go on, say it. We’re listening.
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