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James Yelland
25.02.2006, 11:30
Dear Alan

We hear a lot about 'cheating' in brass band contests - players playing other players' parts, players missing out parts and so on. Yet one subject never seems to get discussed - the use of performance-enhancing drugs at brass band contests. I refer of course to beta-blockers as a means of controlling performance anxiety. It's common knowledge that many players use them - Roger Webster says as much in his article in the latest issue of the Brass Herald and I've certainly known countless instances of it. What does the ABBA have to say on the matter? Other sports have outlawed it, (and band contests are unquestionably a sport - a competition between two or more sides to gain a prize). People who use drugs to gain an unfair advantage are obviously cheating. I presume the ABBA are concerned about this and was wondering when random drug testing for players will be introduced.

Best wishes

Jim

Ankanala
27.02.2006, 23:34
Dear Alan

We hear a lot about 'cheating' in brass band contests - players playing other players' parts, players missing out parts and so on. Yet one subject never seems to get discussed - the use of performance-enhancing drugs at brass band contests. I refer of course to beta-blockers as a means of controlling performance anxiety. It's common knowledge that many players use them - Roger Webster says as much in his article in the latest issue of the Brass Herald and I've certainly known countless instances of it. What does the ABBA have to say on the matter? Other sports have outlawed it, (and band contests are unquestionably a sport - a competition between two or more sides to gain a prize). People who use drugs to gain an unfair advantage are obviously cheating. I presume the ABBA are concerned about this and was wondering when random drug testing for players will be introduced.

Best wishes

Jim

Hello James

This a serious and somewhat controversial point. Through the years since the early 80s I have known of many people and sometimes even bands encouraged by conductors to take relaxant drugs to control nerves at contests. I am not convinced that these are performance enhancing mainly because I have yet to hear a person I know to have taken them play well or even just better than in rehearsal.

You ask about ABBA, but I fail to see what it has to do with them. Adjudicators can only assess what they hear, it is surely up to administrators and/or contest organisers to police this situation and set in motion any tests that you are suggesting, bearing in mind that a disciplinary constitution has to be in place before any tests are introduced. Referees in sport or not responsible for drug testing are they?

This is without doubt a can of worms that once opened will never be controlled to everyones satisfaction and some people would rather it be brushed under the carpet. In sport huge sums of monies are involved whereas with us it is only a hobby in general. Drug-testing and everything that goes with it will be hugely expensive and frankly I can never see it happening.

It is something I am afraid we will just have to accept.