peds — yars – horse pillPosted: October 17, 2012
Terry was late thirties to our twenties, owned his own business and drove a big white Cadillac convertible and cruised down the highway with the radio blaring as we headed for Detroit. A big second row he stood about six foot five inches and if his best years were behind him he was still a dangerous player. You might get hit late and hard, but he’d smile as he helped you up.
The Detroit rugby tournament back in those days was a big deal, attracting teams from the US, Canada, and even one from Lusaka South Africa that year. Back in the late 1970s we were a strong team and often made the finals or better, so that meant six hard fought games, each getting harder and more physical that weekend. By Sunday with four games under our belt and two remaining including a match with Lusaka in the semi finals everyone was pretty beat up.
Someone always brought a tent, and we sat in the makeshift shade on blankets dirty, sweaty and drank Coke and munched on junk food. How funny to think this was before Diet Coke was invented, and all the soda was in bottles, and water was only from containers we filled from a tap. No matter in that heat we needed all the calories we could consume as each game took it toll.
Terry saunters over, face red and burned like all ours from the sun, baseball cap covering his receding hairline a golf ball between his thumb and forefinger displayed for all.
“Anybody need a pick me up?”, he asked chipperly. We stared, puzzled.
Duffy, half his age but one of his best friends said, “What the Hell is that?”
“It gets you through the game,” his mysterious reply.
“Whats it do?” We all rise to the bait.
“Keeps you from feeling pain, it’s bute, that stuff they give racehorses, I can slice you off a piece”
Duffy again “Phenylbutazone? That stuff will kill you, destroy your kidneys”
Terry just laughed.
There wasn’t much at stake, the trophy was probably worth fifty bucks. But in this time of Lance Armstrong it illustrates the question of why do people take performance enhancing drugs: Sometimes they need it to compete, and sometimes just because it’s there.