Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game. According to Golf.com he was also once legally blind. Then he had enhancement surgery and became a champion and a global icon.
So what did he do? Did he sneak away to have famed X-Men leader Professor X give him secret Cyclops surgery so that he can zap the opponents' drive out of the sky? Nope. He just had Lasik eye surgery. Twice.
Tiger still put in all the work. He still had phenomenal talent. He still had to show up and perform in clutch situations. And so did Mark McGwire.
You remember Mark McGwire, right? The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman that the world demonized for using steroids after he won Major League Baseball's home run record chase of 1998.
According to ESPN , McGwire told reporter Bob Costas on MLB Network that he was “given a gift to hit home runs… I believe I was given this gift. The only reason I took steroids was for health purposes." But, unlike Woods who is a beloved icon in the golf community, McGwire was portrayed as a cheater a villain. Beyond that, he was publicly brought before a congressional hearing on steroid use in baseball.
McGwire, who is eighth on the all-time home run list with 583 homers, was not inducted into the Hall of Fame in his fourth and final year of eligibility. He was publicly shamed by society like Cersi Lanister walking through Old City Westeros and his legacy will forever be affected by it.
Meanwhile, every time Tiger is on the course he is lauded and cheered. His life, even in spite of very difficult personal situations made public, will always be charmed in sports. And he had Lasik twice. In a game that requires perfect vision, isn’t going from legally blind to better than perfect 20/15 vision enough of an advantage to be considered cheating?
So what is the difference? Why should one enhancement be permitted and one not be? For instance, what would happen if a professional golfer or baseball player were in a car crash, became an amputee and then wanted to use a bionic arm or leg to continue their career? Would it be permitted? What if it gave them a significant advantage? Or, what if someone developed bionic eyes for the blind? Or what about if someone with a severe back problem wanted to use an exoskeleton?
The point is, in a world where humanity is constantly working to be transformative in mind, body and spirit – shouldn’t the continuity and fairness of the rules between sports and in society always continue to be reconsidered? And, as we are figuring those dynamics out – wouldn’t it be better to extend grace to those pushing the boundaries instead of demonizing them?
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Why do you or don’t you believe that steroid enhancement and/or Lasik eye surgery enhancement should be permitted in sports?
Q2. Why do you think that sports leagues frown upon human enhancement?
Q3. What technological advancements do you think should be permitted in sports?