Am I shocked by Alex Rodriguez' confession to using steroids? Yes. Am I suprised? No. Yesterday's fess-up brings us to two sad conclusions: that virtually every above-average hitter in baseball between 1995 and 2005 used performance-enhancing drugs at some point in their career, and that Jose Canseco is a sage in spite of being a jealous, money-grubbing douchebag. My disappointment is tempered by my assumption that the other shoe was bound to drop, and the timing couldn't have been worse, considering that pitchers and catchers report at the end of the week. In the end, A-Rod put his public image first and admitted to something that Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens have refused to declare in spite of overwhelming evidence against them. To me Rodriguez is an anti-hero, the man who didn't do the right thing until it was almost too late, two parts noble and smarmy.
Meanwhile... last weekend I attended my first high school basketball game in seven years. I did this almost at the spur of the moment; last week, a fellow member of the Downers Grove North Class of 2003 sent me a Facebook invite to last Saturday's game, and I spent the next days debating whether or not to go. This old schoolmate of mine was the daughter of the former head football coach, and at halftime he was going to be inducted into our school's athletic hall of fame. With hours to spare I decided to go to the game, if only to see a few people that I haven't crossed paths with in almost six years. It was "pack the house" night, so I left early to find decent parking.
With extra time to kill and no interest whatsoever in watching the junior varsity game, I decided to wander around my old stomping grounds. It was almost pure chance that I stumbled across one of my old teachers grading papers in his classroom. We chatted for about 15-20 minutes, discussing current events and whatnot. I apologized if I was at any time smug and arrogant in class --which I was-- and he mostly shrugged it off. I was also flattered to discover that he kept my copy of our AP U.S. History textbook from six years ago. Considering that Downers North lost by 5, and I didn't see as many ex-classmates as I thought I would, running into an old teacher certainly made this experience worth the trip.