Tuesday, August 30, 2022 7:46 PM
There are a few basic facts we know about successful people.
They are driven to success.
They are desperate in their quest to find the process to get them to their ultimate goal and to keep them there.
Their passion for what they do is only equaled only by their zeal for being the best at it.
And they are willing to sacrifice anything to get to the top.
That’s true in sports, it’s true in business—it’s true in just about every sector of life. Frankly, that same approach was taken about protecting and strengthening the families in our world, we would be a lot better off.
But since this is a column about sports, generally, that’s where we will focus.
There are lot of things that motivate athletes—could be the money, could be fame, could be fear of losing.
And I am fine with those motivational sources.
But there is one that has come along in the last, say, 10 years or so that is already old and tired and I wish there was some way to make it disappear.
You have heard it a million times. An athlete who has just played a prominent role in a game his team has just won will stand next to the sideline reporter who asks him how his team did it or how he, himself, played the role of hero on this night.
The athlete responds loudly with some variation of “no one thought we could do this” or “no one thought that I could do that” and follows it by saying “but we proved them wrong”.
They remind us of how they were passed up by “X” number of teams, or their team was picked to finished well below where they ended up.
They are quick to point out that the talking sports heads on the major networks missed on their original analysis of them and their skill set.
And then they declare that disrespect was the major motivating factor for how they got to the glory of the moment they are celebrating.
And that may be true. They may really feel disrespected, and they may, in-fact, have been disrespected in the course of reaching this moment.
But so much of what’s wrong with people today is the misplaced sense of being disrespected.
In other words, on too many occasions this sense of disrespect is self-generated and expressed for the sole purpose of giving the athlete an easy motivational tool.
In old-school terms, it’s like writing your own billboard material and then telling everyone how mad it makes you.
It also comes up a lot in contract negotiations.
A player wants his team to pay him more money, and if he doesn’t get what he wants he doesn’t show up for training camp.
Their team has…well, you know the answer.
May I be totally honest? I used to think that this was a problem primarily among African-American athletes. I don’t think that anymore. Not all athletes play this card from their hand, but the ones that do are young and old and from athletes of all skin colors, body shapes and sizes.
It’s such a tired line to take that when an athlete really was underappreciated and really has been disrespected by their team, the fans, the media, other teams, we tend not to listen to them.
It’s a modern-day version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
So, what can be done about it?
Truth is, there really is only one thing to do, and that’s celebrate the athletes who don’t stoop to such nonsense.
We need to speak brightly of the ones who let others address these things, and not deal with it on their own.
There is a grace and class that comes with that approach. And, again, it is currently shown by athletes in every sport by athletes of every skin color, age range and body shape.
And it should make us respect them all the more.
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