Letter: Not just Jose anymore

By Angela Loiacono

It’s about that time of year. Everybody and their brother who lives anywhere near Chicago has proclaimed themselves a die-hard Cubs or Sox fans. Win/loss tallies and tributes show up on everyone’s AIM profile and rivalries are born. All this, despite baseball’s recent dabbling in steroids. Not too surprising, right? We almost expect professional athletes to mess up in this day and age. But what if I were to tell you that it’s not just Jose Canseco taking steroids – it’s the young women of America, too?

An AP article reported that young American girls are getting into the same types of steroids that have been plaguing baseball recently. Using an array of testosterone pills, shots and creams, these girls are using dangerous supplements that could put their lives in jeopardy. Have they lost their minds?

The article reports that various government and university studies have shown that up to 5 percent of high school girls and 7 percent of middle-school girls admitted to trying steroids. Why you ask? These girls, some as young as 9 years old, are trying to achieve one of two things. Some are working to get bigger and stronger so that they can be more competitive in sports. Other girls are just trying to get the toned, muscular look of models they see in magazines.

I’m an athlete. I’ve competed in several sports for a good chunk of my life, and I’ve never thought about taking any kind of performance enhancers. What’s the point of performing better if you don’t do it through hard work and perseverance? Achieving great things in athletics shouldn’t depend on your daily dose of some concoction that promises to give you the edge. Any girl, or anyone for that matter, is cheating and disrespecting their opponents if they think taking steroids is fair and OK.

Secondly, the thought of a young girl taking steroids to tone up and lose weight is beyond my comprehension. Apparently, the new way to get your weight under control is to take steroids that may have adverse effects like severe acne, deepening the voice, depression and fits of anger. Wow, somebody sign me up.

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    I fully understand the hardship of being a young girl and working to keep your body the way you want it. Just about every girl on the planet struggles with her weight and appearance. But 9-year-old girls shouldn’t be concerned about it – they should still be on the playground. And absolutely no one should resort to taking pills that could potentially be hazardous to their health. The notion of harming yourself to achieve a better physical appearance seems ridiculous to me.

    If some people are that concerned about their bodies, they should work out and watch what they eat diligently – instead of resorting to such extremes. The pressure is on from just about everyone when it comes to girls staying slim and looking good, but girls can’t let such influences push them to hurt themselves.

    Girls need to start taking more value in how they look in a pair of sweatpants, no make-up, with their hair in a ponytail. We all need to just be happy with how we are and stop fretting over the little bit of love handle that seems to have grown overnight or the way our thighs look in a pair of jeans. These are life’s little problems – the ones that don’t matter.

    Unfortunately, the examples of some famous individuals have launched negative ideas into the heads of young people. But there are many more of us out there who have our heads on straight. We need to be examples to others, especially the young ones, about what is right and healthy. I’m sure many of us have a little brother or sister who looks up to us. We need to take advantage of that and teach them something worth listening to.