I was watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics last night, and there was a big clip at the beginning before the ceremony started, showing a few athletes working out, practicing, talking and whatnot.
There was a bit where everyone said the same thing: It’s not the triumph, it’s the struggle. I’m not sure I embrace that whole-heartedly, but still. It caught my attention.
Struggle is not a word I’ve ever associated with an Olympic athlete.
Hard work, focus, intensity, competitive: all those things, yes.
But struggle? Struggle to me rings of doubt, of uncertainty, a lack of confidence in the outcome. Struggle, I identify with. Triumph, too, occasionally, but struggle, more often.
How interesting, though, that our best and brightest are presented as those who struggle.
And while I may be reading far too much into what basically amounts to a commercial for NBC Olympic coverage…
I am reassured.
And now – back to work.
August 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm
i saw that commercial and it caught my attention, too. it’s not a word typically used, usually instead we hear “sacrifice, hardship” but i agree with the “struggle.” i’m not sure how they meant it to be taken but here’s the insight i have… (and i’ll tie it in to realtors in a moment 😉
i used to be highly competitive in martial arts. in fact, for 6 years, 6 days of my week i spent 8 to 12 hours a day training. yeah, there’s sacrifice – living the kind of life of “normal” people. hardship – physical pain and exhaustion. however, there’s a quiet internal struggle, “is this for me?” “what am i doing this for?” “can i really make this happen?” like you mentioned. this is the mental game. as an athlete on one hand you have physical hardship, on the other you have the internal struggle.
i think realtors (entrepreneurs) know these two (hardship and struggle) pretty damn well… how many have questioned themselves during that first year? whether they can cut it as a business owner? wondering if they can survive without a company sponsored 401k, group benefits, paid days off? that’s the struggle of the entrepreneur. the mental game… the life of “normal” people in conflict with being a realtor.
to be frank, this struggle never goes away. when physical hardship is at a peak, the struggle is, too. it’s the athletes – and agents – that develop the mental game to battle and persevere that become our best and brightest champions… the agentgeniuses and stomperagents if you will 😉
August 9, 2008 at 1:53 pm
US Olympians struggle? Yeah right. Our logo encrusted professional/amateur athletes who get cash payouts for medals have no struggles except maximizing their take after their agents negotiate the Nike endorsement contracts, and minimizing the traces of steroids in their urine tests.
Struggle is dodging sniper bullets training to represent your country, a fledgling democracy. See the heroic struggle of Dana Hussein.
By the way, in ERAHouston, we claim the host country flag bearer, Yao Ming, who towered above the world’s finest athletes, as one of our own!
August 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm
Like you, I don’t naturally associate an Olympic-level athlete with “struggle”. Rather, I associate them with achievement. Sure, they struggle along the way, through training and practice and mental conditioning. Then they compete with their peers, and some end up on the top medal stand. Sort of sounds like a real estate franchise national convention.
Mark’s comment “…agents – that develop the mental game to battle and persevere ” is spot-on. Athletes do the same thing. The commercial you reference was trying to capture that point, but perhaps missed it. But the ad company accomplished their goal – you noticed the commercial.
And now, back to the struggle…..
Jennifer in Louisville
August 10, 2008 at 6:41 am
I think its all about creating “drama” for an interesting story/commercial. Remember the classic from 3 decades ago: “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport! The thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat! The human drama of athletic competition! This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!”
I think “struggle” is just the updated version of “agony”. 🙂
August 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm
Man, tough crowd.
Struggle for an elite athlete? If you don’t think so, then you haven’t been one or don’t know any.
andrew - apartment man
August 11, 2008 at 9:48 am
Struggle can mean many things. It can mean its a challenge, something hard to overcome, a difficulty with something.
With all the competition and the expectations for these athletes it can be a struggle both mentally and physically.