THE MODERN ATHLETE
1 THESIS OVERVIEW
The new wave of athletes over the past
few decades (both youth and professional) has led to changes in sports, in terms of regulations and ethics which are apparent both on and off of the field. These are all factors of what can lead to the modern athletic mindset and what that mentality can do to an athlete.
“WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE”
Young athletes time and time, again have wishes to be like their idols that they watch on their favorite sports teams, as they hit homeruns, or make game-winning touchdown passes that make the crowd erupt. However, the luxurious lives that professional athletes like to present themselves having, come at a price and have constant risks. This project will dive deep into the mentality of the modern athlete, and offer insight on what exactly goes on behind the scenes of the sports world. There are many elements that create the mentality of an athlete, and each of them impact an athlete’s life and motivation in many different ways.
One minute you could be playing minor league baseball, or playing in an independent organization for football, basketball, or any other sport, and the next thing you know, you get the call that changes your life, and career forever, where you are called up to the big leagues. This can have a lot of effects on an athlete’s mentality, but how one responds to
the spotlight turning to them can really make or break the performance on and off the field. Some athletes can let the fame and fortune
get to their head, while others are the same person they were when they were trying to make it to the majors. In the sports world, nothing is guaranteed, and those athletes that undertand that are the ones that go far.
As an athlete is working their way up to the majors, they will do whatever it takes to make it to the bright lights of professional sports.
However, what will distinguish an athlete who will go down in
history vs an athlete who is just an attraction is whether
they play for the love of their sport, or if they play for the money that comes with it. The money that can come into play with a professional athlete can
play a huge factor in the business end of sports, especially when they hit free agency. It is during that time where they need to decide, do they
IN ITTHE FATHE G want to have team loyalty and possibly stay with a
struggling organization that may not be a contender
in the forseeable future, just because they have the
history? Or do they want to test the free agent market,
pursue a large contract, and sign with a current contending
team? These are all motivators for an athlete as they are deciding
on their future in sports, play for the fame, or play for the love of the game?
TO THE END
Imagine completing your professional career at the age of 30 and not
only having to figure out what you will do for the rest of your life, but are also suffering from long term effects of injuries you endured during your professional career. Whether it is memory issues from concussions, or complications from a surgery that never healed right, there are many long-term effects that can affect an athlete’s life, years after their final appearance under the bright lights. In some cases, the injuries they sustain will stick with them until the day they die. The constant risk of these injuries can be seen as a fear, or mode of inspiration for an athlete to play every game like it is their last.
The Steroid Era
With all of the talk of PED usage in modern sports, nothing quite tops the Steroid Era of baseball. This era refers to baseball played during the late 1980’s through the early 2000’s . Some key names from this time are players you will not see in the hall of fame due to their involvement with steroids include; Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Jose Canseco, just to name a few. What pushed these superstar athletes to use these performance enhancing drugs? These are athletes who put up historic numbers, but it all pretty much got voided due to them being under the influence of PED’s.
Fame, fortune, superstardom....feels good, right? Being a top-tier athlete can make someone feel like they
are above everyone and everything. However, this mentality can have a huge impact on people that are around them as well. Once an athlete realizes that people praise the ground that they walk on, they can get a superego that can only be a recipe for disaster. It is seen time and time again, an athlete thinks they are better than all of the rules and socially accepted behavior that are present in today’s society.
Every day that you turn on the news,
it seems that there is another headline about an athlete (or former athlete) getting into trouble. The money and fame without a doubt is the underlying reason for athletes acting out, and making them become completely different people, but what exactly makes them snap?