Several weeks after many Texas newspapers decried high school steroids testing, Louisiana law enforcement uncovered a huge distribution ring including several high school athletes. (To the Daily Advertiser)
News of a St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department bust of an alleged steroids ring that identified approximately 100 users - including several high school football players - caught area coaches by surprise Tuesday as they were preparing to head to Baton Rouge for the annual Louisiana High School Coaches' Association clinic.
"I'm floored," Opelousas High coach Mickey Autrey said. "I'm caught off guard. I think it's been suspected that some kids do it, but I think it was wishful thinking on our part that it wasn't happening in our schools.
"I hope it's not any of our kids. That could be devastating for any program."
Actually people should be surprised that coaches are surprised that cheating goes on. If there is an edge to be gained, legally or illegally, athletes are not isolated in grabbing any advantage, even -- gasp -- steroids.
Port Barre coach Mac Mistric was startled to hear about the investigation, but said it doesn't come as a big surprise.
"In this age, it's all about instant gratification," Mistric said. "For a lot of kids, it's about getting bigger, faster and stronger the easiest and quickest way. They want results now, and you don't see those kind of quick results by jogging three miles, or putting the time in the weight room.
"As far as wondering if anything like that is taking place (at our school), you never say never. I strongly stand against any of that stuff and every chance we get we warn the kids about the dangers."
Lafayette Parish athletic director James Simmons said investigations like this involving high school athletes will only grow until state-wide steroid testing is implemented in high schools.
"You know what, it doesn't surprise me," Simmons said. "I had an idea that it was going on, but I didn't know it was this widespread. Until we start drug-testing student-athletes for steroids, that's going to always be lingering out there.
"If the legislature really wants to do something good, do what Texas did, earmark some money and test these kids (for steroids)."
Ya'all listening Texas?
Westminster coach Tommy Badon has coached on the collegiate level as well as prep and said the temptation for kids to use steroids is very real.
"In this day and age with the accessibility, you can talk until you're blue in the face, but you'd have to have your head in the sand to not know if they want it, they'll get it," Badon said. "There's always the fear that your kids are trying to take shortcuts. This is a right-now generation. I was raised by a World War II dad, you had to earn everything.
"It's instant gratification, sometimes things aren't happening fast enough. And if someone comes up to you and offers you an opportunity to have those instant results, most kids will take it."