By Trey Gregory
Competition helps breed greatness. This is hard to dispute. iron-sharpening-iron transforms complacency into innovation, weaknesses into strengths and mediocrity into greatness. However, there is a darker side to competition that has received a lot of attention from the sports media lately.
This dark side of competition is a black cloud that can consume an athlete who is looking for a quicker way to become bigger, faster or stronger. I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs, and I am sad to say that, after watching the Texas Tech game, I believe some on the field are using these banned substances.
I arrived home from work late in the first quarter. I joined a group of family and friends who were already watching the game in my living room. I was home and could finally relax. But then I turned my attention to the game and gasped in horror. I was not alarmed that Baylor was down by two touchdowns. I never lose faith in the Bears. I was alarmed because I saw Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk running across the field in black and white striped shirts throwing yellow flags on a whim and flexing their biceps while saying the words like “first down.” I soon realized that these men were not actual Marvel’s Avengers but the officiating crew in charge of calling the game. It was obvious from that point on that the dark influence of performance-enhancing drugs had clawed its way into the world of professional officiating.
These officials were no doubt flunkies from the failed NFL replacement referees. My theory is that Ed Hochuli crushed their hopes and dreams of being NFL referees with his 58-inch biceps after the famous Fail Mary call in Seattle.
How could these men with inferior physiques compete with Hochuli and his regular dose of human growth hormone? The replacement referees’ dreams were shattered, so they turned to the needle to improve their game.
Some say this isn’t important. But I am here taking a bold stand against performance enhancing drugs in officiating. Why? Think about it. RG3 is delicate enough without me having to worry about him falling head first into the abdomen of a referee whose abs resemble Mt. Rushmore more than a nice soft pillow. RG3 could get a concussion on these herculean specimens of referees. I prefer my referees to stand about 5-feet-9-inches and weigh a soft 230 pounds.
Also, weak officials have always been part of a balance of power in football. Sometimes referees can get a little flag happy. But they are less likely to paint the field yellow if they know a Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher-type might rip their head off. But if these officials are just as big as the players, there’s no wondering what kind of calls might come about. They might even start to call pass interference when Luke Kuechly bear-hugs Rob Gronkowsi in the end zone on the final passing play of a game. We just don’t know what kind of bold new calls might come from these empowered officials.
And what about the children? Who do they have to look up to? Poor Timmy just wanted a chance to be on the field with all the athletic kids, so he suited up in black and white and bought a whistle so that he too could share in the peewee game day glory. Shouldn’t Timmy have a role model? Or should the message to Timmy be that he must shoot synthetic testosterone into his veins if he ever wants to referee a Big 12 game?
We need to stop these macho men before they have a metaphorical heart attack and fatally crash their life into a tree. The NCAA and NFL do not need a Lance Armstrong-type scandal.
What other sideline icons might also start bulking up in order to compete for a spot? Think about the future water and towel boys, cheerleaders and athletic trainers. Lets save them from the pressures of performance enhancing drugs before it’s too late.
Trey Gregory is a sophomore journalism major from Greenbelt, Md. He is a reporter for The Lariat.