I should be there right now. Competing. It’s killing me that I’m not.
It’s killing me even more that it might stay this way. Little did I know at last year’s Nationals that it may have been the last time I ever solved for X.
At least, the last time ever doing it as a representative of the United States of America.
Because, while I do have an appeal pending, and I have faith in my legal team, as of right now I am banned for life from competitive mathletics.
Last month I–allegedly–tested positive for ginseng.
Which is LUDICROUS–how soon people forget that I was one of the first to speak out against memory-boosting supplements in all their forms back in the early 2000s when the first group of mathletes started testing positive. They forget that I endorsed league-wide testing when it was implemented…and was blacklisted by the Mathletics Union for YEARS because of it. They forget that I’ve even spoken out against caffeine, though it is still legal; they forget that I helped bring home the gold in 2008 WITHOUT chugging triple shots of espresso, unlike a good number of other mathletes whose names I could mention.
Or maybe people remember those things too well, and now they’re having their fun calling me a big fat hypocrite. I don’t know.
But I do know this: I have never–EVER–knowingly taken a banned substance, and I will go to my grave swearing it on my slide rule, because it’s the truth.
How the ginseng they claim was in my system got there, I’ll never know. My best guess is that, IF there was ginseng in my system, I must have ingested it unintentionally through some tea I had or something.
If that’s the case (and I think it is–again, IF there was ever any banned substance in my system at all), it was an honest mistake–a consequence of not monitoring my diet carefully enough. It wasn’t cheating.
I hope the Appeals Board sees it that way. I pray they do. I still have some math left in me, and I don’t want to go out like this.