Lance Armstrong certainly helped to raise the awareness of cycling as a sport in America, but even at the height of his popularity, he was still no more of a merchandising cash cow than a second baseman on a non-championship team hitting .292 with 20 homers and 86 RBI.
If you are going to cheat in a sport, why do so in a low-profile sport like cycling where the monetary return (at least at the time he started) seemed to be so puny relative to the risk of exposure? Yeah, okay, Barry Bonds may never make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame (although it seems quite unlikely that he will continue to be spurned posthumously), but at least he got while the getting was good. The price for a spot in Cooperstown surely must be well below the millions and millions that Bond made off his Amazing Colossal Man box office peak. On the other hand, if you cheat in a low-profile sport, will anybody really care unless you overplay your hand like Armstrong and his multiple Tours De France?
If there is a sport that Americans by the hundreds of millions care about even less than riding a bike up and down the hills and valleys of France, it’s water polo. Which is great if you are a water polo player who really wants to set your sport on fire. Water polo is already down there sharing the muck with hockey when it comes to dirty pool, so if you have acting skills to go with your ability to tread water, cheating your way to prominence is a breeze. Just use your underwater hand and arm as a hook hidden beneath the surface of the playing field grab the opponent surreptitiously by the waist and quickly shove him out of your way when you’ve got the ball in your other hand.
The acting ability comines in handy by making it seem like you are just using playing good old-fashioned Charlie Hustle instead of dirty dog Pete Rose. This water polo cheat requires no drugs or injections or horse pills, all the dirty work is accomplished out of view and the result is placing your opponent between the rock of allowing you free access to get closer to the goal or the hard place of risking a foul by trying to climb right up your back.
Cheating in bowling is less about improving your upper body strength through steroids than through sleight of hand. The likelihood of a pro bowler getting away with this cheat is pretty low, but then again I learned this trick in high school P.E. by a kid whose dad was an on-again, off-again pro bowler. League bowlers looking for an added advantage can expect to tack on at least ten to twenty points during games played on lanes that are known as “slick.”
This is accomplished by learning how to hide a small piece of sandpaper sewn into the rag you use to wipe off moisture. Master the art of using that hidden sandpaper to grind down one side of the ball just enough to add traction enough for improved control. The opposite condition, in which the lane is tacky with traction, is to covertly oil up the ball.
Okay, so baseball isn’t a low profile sport. Yet. But the way things are going, somebody reading this article in the not-too-distant future may have a different perspective than we do today. If you are on an amateur baseball team blessed with strong hitters, but not so great pitching, you want to do everything you can to upset the conventional wisdom that good pitching beats good hitting every time. Ask around to see if anybody on the team has any type of dehydrating equipment with room enough for baseballs to fit inside. If you come up empty, you can still accomplish the same effect with any kitchen oven, but it will take longer and boost your electric bill.
The key is to get suck the moisture out of a 5oz ball so that it weighs around 4.5oz by game time. Make sure to use all the balls that will be used in the game so that the other team is none the wiser by comparing the size. Without all that extra moisture in the ball, those long fly outs that damn your team to dependence on your lousy pitcher will soar right over the fence. Everybody has heard of balls of being “juiced” but it wasn’t until I talked baseball with one of my students when I taught high school that I learned that this is the neighborhood league way of doing just that.