Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cross-Fit as an Anti-Entitlement Sport

I confronted the arrogance of the gifted athlete as my children grew up and played sports.  All three played club soccer, and the boys played on the varsity team in high school.  On Macon's team there was a player with a magical leg.  It was like a cannon.  He was terribly gifted.

He was lazy and a problem.  He dogged it during practice.  He would drift during a game until particular moments when he let go with the leg.  His grades threatened his eligibility.  Not a team guy.  Yet the sports world entitled him.  He was a king.  He always played as the less gifted often sat long periods on the bench.

We never heard of him again after high school, although from time to time we discuss him.  What ever came of him?  He was a teenager at the time, of course.  I hope he came to know himself.

Cross-fit is fine with the non-gifted.  There are plenty of gifted athletes there, but they work just as hard as the rest of us.  They are a pleasure to watch and to know.  We non-gifted "scale down" to participate.  This is acceptable in the Cross-fit world, provisionally acceptable provided you are working your tail off.  We get to see the gifted exhibit their gifts and they are inspirational in some ways, even beautiful.  (I have no doubt that they enjoy exhibiting their gifts.)  They sometimes expressly encourage the rest of us.  The ethic is one of mutual encouragement.  We all pay the same price for the privilege of participating.  Our rewards are related to our efforts not to our gifts.  We are entitled to nothing except the opportunity to show up.

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