Is it a level playing field

In sports, often or not, it’s unlikely a level playing field. At an elite or high competitive level, where top honours is at stake, the intrinsic or sometimes even tangible advantage is usually the make or break. Perseverance and determination is the building block for a tough athlete. But let’s face it, in this day and age, there is no middle ground. You either make or break. Your pat on the back is forgotten as quickly as the pat itself.

If you’re deemed to have natural talent, you’ll be served up on a silver platter. That’s talent ID. You’ll have all the resources at your disposal to develop that talent. That’s as good as a 30m head start in a 100m race. I was going to say 50m, but let’s be as objective as possible. How you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point. The talent to suck up to people is also a talent by the way.

Getting into recreational sports and fitness, like competitive sport is all about how deep your pocket is. Gym memberships, exercise classes, proper coaching, injury prevention, equipment, use of facilities, going to races.The budget competitive athlete and/or recreational go-getter is tied to whatever budget he/she has. So if you’re born to a silver platter, but is a late bloomer, you still have a head start. Again, how you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point.

The rest who are not and don’t display signs of natural talent are basically left with the message: Spend your life earning the big bucks and you’ll be able to afford whatever toys you want in the future and your kids might have a chance to be an elite athlete.

Even when we look at it on a global scale, depth of pocket is one of the major factors in elite performance. The more money you pump in, the higher the chances of bringing back silverware. Again, how you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point.

The against-all-odds stories gives people a sense of hope. But it should not be used as a primary source of motivation because these cases are far from being the majority. Not only that, its effect varies across different sporting cultures and environment. Hard work pays off. Its how you choose to run the rest of the race. If you start the race 30m behind, is hard work going to be enough? What are the chances that everyone else you’re racing against isn’t working their butt off? Because at the end of the race, your hard work will be forgotten as quickly as the hand shake you get.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Is it a level playing field

  1. I agree to certain extent ‘natural talent’ can provide people with a head start. Yet, if you have not been handed the head start. Why give up? I firmly belive that working harder than anyone (in training and networking) can lead to success at the elite level. Everyone needs a bit of luck. Being there at the right time, you won’t get that luck if you stop working hard.

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