Tour De France

I'm not a cyclist myself, but like a lot of other Americans, I became hypnotized every July for the past few years because of the story of Lance Armstrong. In his book, "It's Not About The Bike," Armstrong talked about his bout with cancer and his road back to cycling, eventially to win the most prestigous race in his sport.

The start of this year's race was yesterday. But instead of the usual talk about who is going to win, the buzz was about the riders removed from the TDF because of an international doping scandal implicating many of the top riders in the world. Although he retired last year, Armstrong himself was accused of using banned substances.

The Spanish authorities say that other sports could be involved, like soccer and tennis. We already know about the controversies with steroids and baseball in this country. And, every olympics, there is always talk of someone who had a positive drug test and had to give up her/his medal.

When I was growing up, sports was about learning the fundamentals of the game, learning to listen to the coach, and learning to work as a team. It was a great way to learn some socialization skills as a kid and to learn some strategy skills also -- skills that you could apply as an adult. In school, we used to joke about the use of "roids" in body builders. But now, the term is "performance enhancing substances," and there's talk about it everywhere - even at the grade school and high school levels.

Kids these days have lost interest in sports. Some coaches and some parents put so much emphasis on winning, that it turns kids off. They're happier in front of the xbox. Decreased interest in physical activity has also contributed to the obesity problem. Granted, playing sports is not the end all and be all solution for a happy and healthy childhood. But, without sports, I think kids are missing out on a lot.