There is no doubt that being involved in athletics is a wonderful pursuit. It teaches valuable life lessons - discipline, teamwork, dedication, sacrifice, humility.
But, there is a slippery slope in identifying solely with your sport, “sport is life.”
Here’s some food for thought...
Extremism in athletics is all around us, from David Goggins being revered for his ulta-intense mindset and lifestyle to Nike glorifying a “no rest days” slogan on shirts and in advertising. This ethos has become a badge of honor.
Some people identify so closely with the sport they practice and/or play that it becomes them. They sacrifice careers, relationships and more because they are so obsessed with their sport. Now, in the case of professional athletes, this is necessary at times. But, what about the amateur Crossfitter, endurance athlete, OCR racer, etc.?
For the vast majority of you reading this, your sport is not your livelihood. Sure, you can be dedicated and passionate, but is it coming at a cost?
- Is your identity so wrapped up in your sport that you’ve lost touch with who you are as a person?
- What happens when you are injured? Is your joy gone?
- When your season is over, do you experience a sense of loss?
- How will you deal with getting older and not performing the same as you do today?
- Does a bad training session absolutely ruin your day?
If you feel you may be caught in this trap, take a realistic view of yourself. What legacy do you want to leave? What other hobbies do you have? Can you take a day off? Do you have relationships outside of the sport? Are you volunteering and/or positively impacting others?
Excelling in a sport, even at an amateur level, takes sacrifice - sleep, nutrition, limiting some social engagements...but are you missing out on life? How can you find balance?
These are all hard questions, but necessary nonetheless.