manny1It appears that Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez will be suspended for fifty games beginning tonight after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs according to the L.A. Times.

This is sad on so many levels. I’m not speaking of the impact on the Dodgers specifically or on baseball in general. The sadness of which I speak is the impact that steroid use by sports figures–and unethical choices on whatever level, and in whatever endeavor, to get ahead–has on physical health, of course, but also on the spiritual, psychological, and societal levels.

The “steroid era” of baseball is indicative of the larger societal focus on “win at all costs” in many areas of life. I do what I need to do to get ahead, to take care of me and mine. Far too often such privilege comes at a great cost to the individual as well as to others both near and far.

We are all broken in our humanness. We all fall short of our own ideals. We all harm ourselves and others and we’ve all been harmed. And we all live with the consequences of our choices. In the busy-ness of our lives we too often fail to recognize our shared humanity and the impact our choices have not only on ourselves but on others.

When I was a child one of my heroes was Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax. The only scandal I recall associated with Sandy was when he refused to pitch the first game of the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins because the game fell on Yom Kippur. Who are today’s sports heroes for young folks? Who are the role models in general? Who is watching me? Who is watching you?

Our children are watching. They are imitating.