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Effort, or lack thereof… December 10, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I’ve had this post rattling around in my head since Monday night, and in a moment you’ll see why.

One thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand about athletes is the effort they put into the game. Now, I understand they spend hours outside of games practicing, working out, and watching video. Even keeping that in mind it boggles my mind that they can collectively turn in such a clunker like the Sabres did Monday night.

Allow me to state my case for why you’d want to try hard if you are a professional athlete:

  • You are (supposedly) very good at this game. People who are good at something generally try to remain good at it.
  • You are playing a game you love for a living. A game; not processing invoices, not analyzing spreadsheets, not bussing tables.
  • You are being paid a frankly obscene amount of money to play this game for a living. If you manage your money you’ll never have to worry about where the next mortgage payment is coming from, or how you’ll pay for college for your children. You will have enough money to have other people do things for you so you can concentrate on this game you play for a living.
  • You are a professional athlete. Presumably there’s an element of pride you take in your performance.

I’m sure there’s more, but I had a three hour commute today and my brain is a little fried.

So with all these things, why don’t athletes give a consistent effort? Even superstars can be accused of this inconsistency: Alex Ovechkin looked completely uninterested in playing a hockey game on Wednesday. I don’t know what he would’ve rather been doing, but it was clearly not helping his team win.

Is it a feeling of privilege? Of entitlement? Does playing this game get boring? Do athletes actually start to hate the game they play? I really can’t figure it out.

Let me know what you think – if you have any explanations I’d love to hear them. I’m willing to consider logical reasoning.

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