I would like to hedge a bet that over the next few weeks the number of middle aged men going through a midlife crisis will increase tenfold. The reason is simple, the Olympic Games. Yes you heard it correct, me the avid supporter of the Olympics, believes that the Olympics are dangerous for the emotional wellbeing of most men.
The reason I raise this point is that I have noticed this emotional affect in my own life and in some of the males I have bumped into lately.
To give you a little outline I found the first week of the Olympics absorbing, inspiring and truly captivating. The stories about competitors who have battled back from dingy fever, or those with no training equipment who managed to defy the odds and win gold inspired me. However, as these stories started to mount so did my own inadequacies. I found myself questioning my own ability and purpose.
As most of you are aware, and preparing for, I turn 30 in a few months time. This unique milestone has been amplified by the Olympics. With few exceptions most of the athletes are well under 30 and those that are over that mountain are usually completing their 3rd Olympics and are viewed as veterans. Watching the women’s gymnastics the other evening the entire top five had a combined age of only 28. What is effectively happening is that I have arrived in that place in life when I am looking for meaning but realise that most of all the good things are gone.
This realisation is hard to take for most men and what has made it worse for me is that I have started noticing that it is not just on the sporting field that I have missed my opportunity.
Only the other day I meet a man who claims to have the ‘best lemons in the Bay of Plenty’. While he didn’t boast about this incessantly, he was definitely proud of this tag and rumour has it he is having t-shirts made with slogan ‘bet my lemons are bigger than yours’. Initially this didn’t affect me as who cares about lemons. But as I have reflected I have only come to the realisation that the agriculture sector is another area of life that has passed me by.
In desperation I turned on TV the other morning and this only caused my feelings of inadequacy to be further fuelled. The TV1 morning show has a new presenter and I am sure that you have noticed him; he is definitely the talk around our water-cooler at work. He looks all of 18 with a silky smooth baby face to match. While I was initially captured by his smooth style and discreet Aussie tang, I have slowly come to the realisation that, along with my small lemons, I will never be a TV or film star.
This entry certainly has a melancholic under tone but it is now that I offer my little ray of hope. You see I had a Eureka moment the other day when I was out fertilizing my lemon tree in a vain attempt to increase their size and texture.
I had just sat through heat after heat of the Men’s 100m, 27 eleven second races in all. During that Eureka moment I came to the realisation that there are more losers at the Olympics than winners. If you are like me you have been sold the lie of the Olympic Games and I am here to change your thinking. The media pump this event as the collection of the greatest sportspeople in the world when in fact 98% of them are losers, just like you and I. Of the 10,000 odd athletes competing in the games there are only 463 medals given out and many of them are athletes who win more than one. So rather than look at the 2% of people who win, I suggest you do as I do and look at the 98% of people who come midfield and realise that you are as good as them. You just don’t need to travel to China to chase a dream that they were never going to fulfill.
My hope is that this blog as changed your thinking on what is important in life and changed your view of the Olympics. Just remember to stop looking at the guy who wins and compare your self to Freddy Williamson from Uzbekistan who finished dead last, 15 minutes behind all the other competitors.