While quietly enjoying lunch, I could not help but overhear a conversation downplaying the importance of athletics in society. Neither of the people in the conversation looked very athletic, so I found their words to be as thought provoking as they were annoying.. As an athlete, it was a challenge to overcome the urge to educate them, but I was able to hang in there and gain some insight.
“Arrogant, entitled, and undereducated” were a few words that were used to describe athletes during this conversation. With viral media shining bad light on athletes: Floyd Mayweather’s literacy, Ray Rice’s domestic violence, and Marshawn Lynch’s interviewing skills, it is understandable why these stereotypes exist. As with any form of prejudice, one simply cannot understand what they don’t know. What is known is the fact that athletes are handsomely paid; many would argue that they are overpaid, but lets examine this closely. Imagine having a job where your mind literally thinks that it will die, then finding the courage to carry on anyway—this is what it feels like to push the limits of the human body. The reality of this is that not many people are willing to do these things and athletes are aware of that. Does this make them arrogant or feel entitled? For some of them, yes. As with society, athletes come from differing walks of life, we are your: policemen, firemen, businessmen, doctors, educators, soldiers, and lawyers—you cannot judge an athlete by their title alone.
“I pulled my kids out of sports because I didn’t want them to become assholes.” We all have a friend that dreams big but never follows through; chances are that this person is not an athlete. Athletes are instilled with the discipline and strong work ethic that it takes to become successful in life, no matter how lofty their lives’ goals might be. Athletes also learn the value of teamwork, self-confidence, interpersonal skills, and how to cope with success and failure. Prior to becoming an athlete, I was the type of person that would tell myself that I was not good enough to achieve anything significant in life. Through my journey into athletics I learned how to have the courage and discipline to achieve great things. If it were not for athletics I would not think that I would be good enough to write this article. I wish I had learned these things at an earlier age, but it is not too late for me to reach my true potential in life.
Athletics is essential for American society because it teaches us the hard work, discomfort, and discipline that are required to be called the very best. Let’s claim victory over obesity, entitlement, stagnation, and the lack of innovation today. Grab your running shoes, dream big, and help reignite the American spirit through hard work and sheer dominance!