Whatever happened to the good ‘ol days of Reggie Jackson belting homers, Warren Sapp crushing a lineman because he was actually BETTER than his matchup, and Tim Tebow being a productive asset to a team? Sure, I’m just 20 years old, but I’ve accumulated a wealth of sports knowledge over the years (no, not only from SportsCenter), and I know that times weren’t always like the way they are right now.

It’s hard to figure out what happened to sports. Where did the fire, the pure talent, the competitiveness and the fun go? Now all we’ve got is doping, deer antler-spraying and made up girlfriends. I’m still waiting for the day I turn on a sports channel and see only things that are positive. The grainy highlights on TV show better days – back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Sports were natural. Athletes, as well, were natural.

Sticking a needle into your arm seems to be the cool thing these days among pro athletes. A-Rod, Armstrong, Melky…who else? Oh yeah: Bonds, Manny, Giambi…even Marion Jones took steroids. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for athletes to stop using performance-enhancing drugs, but I hope they know that in the meantime, they’re harming society in a big way. Jersey sales go down, you get kicked off your team, or worse, you LOSE MONEY. One small pinch that will “only hurt a little” can cost you millions, and even your life. Athletes back in the day performed the right way: based on pure skill, and practice, man. We talkin’ about practice. It’s called making yourself better and honing your skills. Where has that gone?

And then we get to possibly the most idiotic sports story so far this year: Manti Te’o, a story in and of himself.

You met a girl and developed feelings for her and – oh, wait, she isn’t real? With too many components to even fathom, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o sure did get the attention he wanted. But at what cost? Lowering his draft stock significantly, more than likely losing some money come draft day, losing the respect of many of his fans. Playing along with the death of your fake online girlfriend for publicity, and then telling everyone you were duped is pretty low. “Scumbag Steve” low. Te’o’s talent could have easily made him a lottery pick in April’s NFL Draft, and he’s sure to be bumped down to at least the second round, making second-round money.

Steroids, chemicals, publicity stunts – they’re all far too common in today’s realm of professional sports and changing them for good. Going to the game is no longer a great time with your old time. Now it’s a time to boo an accused doper, call Kris Humphries a douchebag for his time with Kim, or spill beer on your least favorite player. It sucks, but that’s sports.

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