Words With Willy
Many things go into the day-to-day life of being a professional triathlete. Some may seem obvious, like the excessive training, the excessive eating, the excessive sleeping, and the excessive travel. When you put it like that, it’s really a sport of excess abuse. But one that constantly surprises those unfamiliar to the lifestyle of the professional is the drug testing/compliance side of things. For example, I’ve had to vouch for my whereabouts for one hour a day for the last 10years. That’s a lot of hours. It means that any day they choose, the drug testers can knock on my door to test for nefarious substances in my system. Ironically, more often than not, the drug testers get confused for drug dealers to the unaware – usually my neighbours or housemates.
Two nights ago, the drug testers came searching the street for my house in the later hours of the night, only to cop a malevolent inquisition from some benevolent Tarragindi community vigilantes. Woe betides anyone who crosses such self-appointed commandantes, a brief perusal of the Tarragindi Community Facebook page will tell a harrowing tale of the furious public shaming of those brazen enough to say, let a dog off a leash, or emit more than a decibel or two above background noise in the ‘Gindi district. As such, two strange men in a car, searching for a house number at 10pm at night was quickly branded as ‘suspicious’ and threatened to have the cops called following the drug testers refusal to state their business. The drug tester had clearly encountered such territorial neighbourhood behaviour before and told the vigilante to “do what they had to do”, before resuming their business (namely: tracking down Wilson). Unused to such brazen defiance, they retreated to either call the authorities, or whinge on Facebook. Possibly both. Either way, when there was a cop car parked outside my house the next day, I did startle somewhat. Truth be told, my house may be cause for some suspicion – there is some drug production going on in there. There’s the coffee roasting that gets done under the Skullduggery banner, as well as my fledgeling home brew set up, with the second batch of the Juicy Dangler IPA currently fermenting under the house. The cops did nought more than park outside for a moment or two, but even if they had have come in, I trusted them to be able to tell the difference between a brew kettle and a meth lab. Certainly, there was nothing reprehensible prescribed for the ASADA boys to question, while the caffeine in coffee may give a bit of a lift, it’s legal, and the Juicy Dangler certainly has no performance enhancing qualities. Aside from potentially providing extra motivation to work a little bit harder to ‘earn one’.
Typically, whenever I hear a knock on the door at any time after 6pm, it’s a fair chance it’s ASADA.
It’s not the first drug tester related confusion that has sprung up over the years. When I was living with a few ‘civilians’ who knew less about triathlon than I know about quantum physics, the drug testers knocked on the door one day when I wasn’t home. Upon my arrival, my worried housemate informed me that ‘government men’ had been looking for me, and again, refused to state their business. In another case of uncertainty creating catastrophizing thoughts, she suggested there was a back way out of the housing complex we lived in. I’m not sure exactly what she thought the men were going to do to me, but she had been watching ‘The Bourne Identity’ the day before, and I did have a history of being forgetful. So perhaps she thought they were interested in taking more blood than the small vial required for testing purposes.
Typically, whenever I hear a knock on the door at any time after 6pm, it’s a fair chance it’s ASADA. At worse, having them turn up is a mild inconvenience, and perhaps a few minutes of lost sleep. At best, it can make your day. Many years ago now, when I was fresh out of school and furiously juggling training and uni, I’d gotten home from a long session, was absolutely hammered, and had been listening to the devil and the angel sitting on each of my shoulders debating the respective merits of making the long trip into uni to go to a lecture I had little interest in, taught by a lecturer I had even less time for. As the time I needed to leave to make the train drew closer, with hate oozing out of every movement like a toasted sanger oozes cheese, I made the commitment to go to uni. Until that is, I heard the front gate clink, and two ASADA men walk in. I swear they would have never seen a broader grin on an athlete when I opened the door. I could have done my urine test straight away, but I just happened to stall long enough to miss the last train to my lecture. I’m all for a clean sport, and even more so if it means I spent the afternoon watching ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ instead of listening to an ageing professor listlessly waffle about cell biology.