The way I see it, the average person doesn’t understand an athlete who is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Let me rephrase that. The average person is incapable of understanding the inner drive required of an athlete who is willing to do whatever it takes, striving to become the best at what they do possibly. I say "possibly," because you can have the best genetics, the best attitude, high intelligence, the best training, the best coaching, and still not reach your goals. Not hitting your mark could be due to many reasons, but it adds another facet to the mindset needed to become the best. The vast majority of people wouldn’t do what is necessary, i.e., the daunting journey of becoming, even with the assurance of world-class status, because of the difficulty. Now throw in the fact, just because you do doesn’t mean you’ll become, and you lose even more people.
Although most people couldn’t conceive becoming an athlete, they do appreciate them. Fans love watching, cheering, and spending money on world class teams and athletes. As proof, just look at the popularity of sports in general. They see the rewards and accolades these top athletes get but have no idea, nor do most fans care about, how they got there. What the average Joe doesn’t see or comprehend is the hours, days, weeks, and years of sacrifice, preparation, failure, and physical injury that goes with the journey while not making money or being popular.
Unfortunately for many athletes, there are sports with world champions and participants that achieve and hold multiple world records that make no money at all. Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, and Strongman are three sports that have some of the most talented and genetically gifted humans on earth participating, with the overwhelming majority making no money from their sport. This fact alone makes it impossible for someone who doesn’t participate in these sports to conceive pushing so hard and enduring so much just for accomplishment sake.
In Bryan Krahn’s article “Price of the Platform”, he writes about what some powerlifters have done to become the best, and the negative impact it had on their lives and bodies. There is a dark side to any sport that requires one to find your physical limitations because the only way to find your limit is to cross it. Bryan’s article does raise the question, however, “What’s going too far to find your limit?”