Editor’s note: Elijah Zabludoff is a senior football player from St. John Bosco High and an aspiring journalist. Each week during the high school football season, he will be blogging about his personal experiences and also his thoughts about prep sports in general. Zabludoff is a returning starter at center for the Braves, who are ranked No. 1 in the Los Angeles Times’ preseason poll.
With the recent Biogenesis scandals involving major-league baseball players such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, performance-enhancing drugs have been significant news in sports. PED use among pro athletes trickles down to lower levels, and now is a relevant issue in high school sports.
The use of PEDs in sports is unfair. It's cheating, plain and simple. Not only are you harming your body, but you’re also taking unfair advantages over the opponent. The use of PEDs undermines the honesty of the game and is disrespectful to the game these athletes “love.” If you truly loved the game you play, why would you cheat your way through it? I asked one of my football coaches if he knew anyone who used PEDs or took PEDs himself in college: "Never,” he said. “That's cheating, and either way I knew if I worked harder than the guy across from me I would dominate. And I was just naturally a beast anyways, so it didn't even matter."
Thousands of high school athletes are all competing against each other for a Division 1 athletic scholarship, and are all looking for an advantage over their opponents. Some of these high school athletes are just looking to be like their role models in the pros, and they see stars like baseball player Melky Cabrera receive massive contracts after coming off PED-induced suspensions. That tells young athletes that it's OK to cheat your way through sports and still be successful.
High school athletes are always trying to get bigger and stronger to earn their scholarship, so they use supplements. The supplements that are most-often used in high school sports are different types of protein shakes, pre-workout drinks, and creatine. All of these are legal, widely used, and endorsed by trainers for training recovery. I personally take pre-workout for our early workouts and whey protein for muscle recovery. I feel that these should be the only things allowed in high school sports, because some supplements really push the envelope in terms of being legal or illegal. If the supplements that are being taken have illegal substances, a suspension should be enforced --- or a punishment, at the very least, left to a coach’s discretion.
But enough about topics such as cheating. Let's talk a little football.
Last Thursday, St. John Bosco got its first taste of season-like competition against Huntington Beach High School. A ton of fans from both teams showed up to watch the scrimmage. It was great competition, and SJB played very well on all sides of the ball.
Opening night for the St. John Bosco Braves is now just days away. On Friday (August 30), the Braves open up at Compton Dominguez High School. Our dues have been paid this summer and we finally get to keep score, stats, and records.
Dominguez will be a good first test for the Braves as we begin our quest to finish what we started last year. Our goal this year, like every other year, is to keep playing into December and finish the season 16-0. I can't wait until the lights shine on Friday night, and the Braves get to finally go into battle together.