By Emile De Bruin (Head Coach Meta4mance)
“OLYMPISM IS A PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE, EXALTING AND COMBINING IN A BALANCED WHOLE THE QUALITIES OF BODY, WILL AND MIND. BLENDING SPORT WITH CULTURE AND EDUCATION, OLYMPISM SEEKS TO CREATE A WAY OF LIFE BASED ON THE JOY FOUND IN EFFORT, THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF GOOD EXAMPLE AND RESPECT FOR UNIVERSAL FUNDAMENTAL ETHICAL PRINCIPLES.”
–International Olympic Committee
Key words from above:
- Balance (body, will and mind)
- Blending (sport, culture and education)
- Way of life (joy in effort, example, respect, ethics).
“Professionalism” sure has f#*@$d this up!
The golden ticket, that carrot dangling in front of athletes, coaches, parents, schools, sponsors and others, that promises so much, but seldomly delivers, has indeed brought out the more colourful side of us.
It’s amazing what we as humans are really willing to give up to be the next big thing. No I am not talking about the more acceptable things like giving up social time to train. I am talking about things that Olympism speaks of.
Balance has been replaced by the need to win at all cost at any age. Cheating, whether it’s taking a banned substance or diving in a soccer game to gain an advantage over your opponent, is rife at all levels of sport.
Violence is raising its bruised and battered fist all over the world of sport. Heard of fathers beating each other up at an under 10 rugby match?
What happened to using sport as an educational tool to instill sound moral values?
Money… happened. Or more accurately, the possibility of money happened.
Let’s sacrifice safety and our very health because this is your chance. I recently heard (from a very trusted source) how a dad forced his son to return to the rugby field after the medical staff declared his arm broken. Talent scouts were at the venue, so this was the big meal ticket.
Come on people.
The incidence of depression, anxiety and substance abuse is on the rise among athletes as young as 12 years old. In fact, research indicates that 1 in 5 collegiate and pro level athletes suffers from depression compared to the 1 in 11 of the normal population. The demand around the absolute need to win at all cost has fueled this. Athlete, parents and coaches are growing their entire personal identity around what they do, not what they are.
If you are an athlete, parent or coach try this:
Write down as many “I am” statements as possible. Aim for at least 20. The more you can write down the better. For example :
- I am a father
- I am a builder
- I am the emotional strength for my family
- I am a fitness enthusiast….
Then make four columns, and at the top of the various columns write down Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional and Spiritual respectively.
Now take your “I am” statements and put each one in the column that you feel it belongs in.
If you find that the four columns are balanced relatively evenly then well done!
If you find that your columns are not balanced evenly then you need to invest into finding or building more ” I am” statements that can be placed in the lacking column.
If you struggled to write down 20 ” I am” statements you need to invest some serious time and effort into figuring out who you are.
Here is a heavy and difficult question for everyone: what do you want written on your tombstone one day?
Not everyone will be an Olympian but every person can uphold Olympism.