Champion Athletes Are Losers

You wake up every morning at 4am, eat a power breakfast, and start training. It consumes your days and keeps you from having a normal life. It usually starts in high school, at the insistence of overzealous parents trying to compensate for their own shortcomings by breeding a “Champion”. Sacrifice and dedication take the place of a normal teen life, a trend that continues into adulthood. Relationships are put on hold, diets are strict, and fun is seen as a waste of time that could be better spent training.

I have known many of these people. When let out of their routine cages and released into social situations, they shuffle about nervously and seem completely uncomfortable. Nothing to talk about, nothing, that is, but “their sport.” This isolation pushes them further into training, a cycle that repeats until they win the gold, or blow out a hip and have to start life all over again.

Not that I have anything against dedication and devotion to a skill. I just question the worth of having that skill be the backstroke. Is humanity any better off for your record times? It seems like a lot of work for marginal payback. The athlete just keeps pushing harder and harder, putting his/her full ego and self worth on the line for every competition. Mom and dad join in, keeping charts and graphs, talking strategies over dinner, turning the parent/child relationship into a business arrangement.

We need champion thinkers and leaders, not athletes. What happens when the dream dies? You’re left with a roomful of ribbons and trophies and no experience dealing in the real world. There’s more to life than competition and always being the best. There’s a lot of living to do in between races. Fuck the gold, go for a life.