“If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.”
– Andre Agassi
Death of the athlete
I noticed a new trend developing at the time that social media really started to take off. Regular people started to call them themselves athletes.
Participating in two 5K races a year somehow made ordinary folks into dedicated runners. Going to the gym for half-an-hour turned guys into Arnold Schwarzenegger. And taking one bike ride in the summer meant you were an off-road adventurer.
Exercising and getting into shape is great. I have no problem with that and think everyone should be physically fit. However, I do have an issue with people declaring themselves to be athletes. It’s disrespectful.
I’ve boxed since June of 2013.
Would I call myself a boxer?
Of course not.
I’m able to spar a little and throw a few hooks, that’s nothing compared to what guys like Adrien Broner and Floyd Mayweather can do. There are even a lot of other amateurs who could whoop me in the ring. Declaring myself to be a boxer undermines everything that these guys have worked for and accomplished. Fighting with your friends on a Saturday afternoon and training full-time are worlds apart from each other.
Some time ago I was at a bar and ran into a dude who’d been on the All-Army Boxing Team, worked as a bouncer in Vegas, and owned an MMA gym. The entire time I kept my mouth shut and didn’t try to seek out validation by saying “I can box too!” It would have been rude since I didn’t that same level of dedication. This guy’s warm-ups were more intense than a lot of my routines.
I know that everyone likes to pretend their special in order to get more attention, but almost none of us are athletes. And we shouldn’t try to act like we are either. Being an athlete requires a level of skill and dedication that most of us will never have.
Walking a marathon, dusting off your bicycle for a few rides a year, or going to the gym three times a week does not make you an athlete. Unless you are literally dedicating the majority of your time to the mastery of a specific sport you shouldn’t use the term.