12/13/2014 1 Comment
Athletes and Inspiration
There are so many great sports out there and so many great athletes too. I have always been one to follow the more obscure sports and in terms of participation and coaching, my focus has primarily been on the Olympic sports.
I'd usually have to know someone personally in the "big" sports to really get interested in them. My cousin for example played football for the Tennessee Titans for nine years and I'll confess that those nine years composed my biggest consumption of the sport. Back in college, I was on the swim team and I'd meet other varsity athletes on the baseball, basketball and football teams. Once I got to know them, I would always enjoy watching their games more so than if I didn't know them personally.
The wrestlers, forget it, I enjoyed watching the matches regardless of whether I knew them or not. Fortunately, I happened to know a bunch of them and they were great guys to know. They were tougher than most and regardless of weight class, no one could mess with them - unless you wanted to get tied up like a pretzel.
I always felt something in common with wrestlers. Maybe it was because I did Judo as a kid or maybe it was the one-on-one, head-to-head competition that we both faced when we would compete. Or maybe it was because back then anyway there wasn't necessarily anything beyond college. You weren't working your butt off for the hope that you'd become a pro. The big sports had the NFL, NBA or MLB floating out there. Ask most 20, 21, 22 year old male who is doing well in a big sport and I think by nature they would go for a pro career if given a shot.
But us swimmers and our wrestling buddies, we worked unbelievably hard probably driven by some raging desire simply to do better, to improve our time, or to pin an opponent. Self satisfaction of doing your best while reaching a goal is just as rewarding at the time it happens, but also ten or twenty years later regardless of the potential to get some kind of monetary reward. Maybe that is why I am so attracted to what they used to refer to as the "non-revenue" sports... It was a matter of true love and desire to be your best and the mere knowledge that you did is the only reward that really means anything.