Updated into 2 parts, Part 1: “You’re Not An Athlete,” Analyzing an Early, Indirect Psychological Obesity Catalyst

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.IMG_6242IMG_8962 Let’s talk about that.

Are you an athlete? Let’s talk about that.

I remember school, that grouping of children by statute in which arbitrary determinations of “jock” versus “gangster” versus “freak” versus “nerd” identified people according to the Plato’s Cave rule.

Have you concluded that you are not an athlete because of this caste-filing system? I believe many people have, especially those who drop out of physical conditioning, or who struggle with believing they belong in a training life of value.

Mass society, as Alvin Toffler the futurist pointed out in his “Previews and Premises,” and “Wave” books, has been reaching its limits over several decades and is forced to change. Mass approaches to the jobs society needs done are losing efficacy to nimbler, more adaptive, and custom modes of human endeavor.

An example: Mass culture’s investors swear to us that mass agriculture is necessary to support the populations it has made possible, what I call an AB-Argument (Addiction-Bureaucracy meme). But that system is changing what food is.

Change happens slowly under the weight of Addiction-Bureaucracy in part because bureaucracy demands consultation and control in that change. However, there are powerful sea changes to speed these processes along from time to time.

In Fitness, Adaptive Training is such a movement. It can take us from the mass commercial approaches to training to an individualized path. Community lives best by temporary confederacies of good purpose, and less by growing, monolithic, robotic authority. The central power theme with high adult to teen ratios provokes the arbitrary identifications like “jock,” “nerd,” “slut,” and other caste system labels that the very teachers it employs fight a futile battle to correct. While this may have been unplanned, authority can use these limiting legends to keep control over high ratios of students to coaches / teachers, etc.

There are Prom Queens and Homecoming Kings and MVPs and scholars by ritual popularity, however, not always by merit of character. And everywhere we hear the word “pride” credited with the wins. I realize this is a commonly used term that many people use to mean love of one’s team, school spirit, and  loyalty to their success. But using the word pride to describe those things is off-kilter. That’s because the same word means a narcissistic desire to hold one of the caste system titles, whatever it takes. That is the trend we see in professional sports.

From my perspective you are an athlete if you mentally and physically condition yourself to excel in your sport, art, work, ethical, and spiritual life no matter your age. To deny any part of one’s development for the more easily developed physical talents is to set-up the highly trained body and mind for a descent into character-rot.

An adaptive training life continually responds not to the rituals that flatter athletes, but to the greater purposes that give mortality its highest meaning for each one, and for all. The rituals may be part of the mix, but they do not govern the athlete. The athlete chooses his or her areas of endeavor, and leads her or himself to excel for the sake of seasoning the community with excellence in service to a community of persons, not to an industry or institution.

To serve people is to be a leader. To serve an industry or institution without remembering “by and for the people,” is to become a materialist willing to value things, wealth, and glory over people.

This leads me to sever this piece into two parts. The next part is on the use of the word “Pride” in athletics and other human endeavors, and how that backfires even when well-intentioned.

4 thoughts on “Updated into 2 parts, Part 1: “You’re Not An Athlete,” Analyzing an Early, Indirect Psychological Obesity Catalyst

  1. Being close to 77 years of age I regret to infform you that I’m sort of ‘outside’ of the element of sport 🙂 , but since you invited me to say something on the matter, I’ll draw your attention to the ‘Arctic Race’ which has just been conducted for this year. A big success it has been named ‘the most beautiful race ever’, and I’m sure it will be conducte also next year.
    However, there is noe guarantee as to the weather conditions. It might turn out to be one of ‘the thoughesdt races ever’ the next year 🙂 , but now you know about it.
    It takes place in Lofoten in northern Norway (Well north of the Polar Circle) and it might be something you won’t ever forget or something you’d regret for ever 🙂

  2. Good post, very true. Since I can remember I was always told I was not meant to be athletic, to run or play sports. I spent my time with movies and books and was physically inactive most of my early adult life due to this and I paid for it with my health. When I decided to be a triathlete this was the biggest obstacle to overcome: the mental stigma that I was not intended to be a runner or athlete because I was naturally big boned (I do have 58 inch shoulders and a 49 inch chest so this is partly true). As I hesitantly started the couch to 5k program and eventually my triathlon training regiment I began to mentally change and I started to believe that I could run and do triathlons, I could achieve athleticism. I might not ever be the fastest or best at my sport, but I can work to be better and to get better. The end goal is to be the best I can be and to have fun doing it. I am now a triathlete who has competed in three triathlons with two more to go for my first season. I have participated in numerous 5k running races, albeit slow, I finished. Also I have completed a 10k and soon a 15k running race. All those years of my early adult and teenage life I was told I was not meant to run or compete in triathlons were truly just wrong. Yeah, I won’t be setting records but I can be an athlete of high caliber as long as I push to be my best in my sport.

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