I would like to hedge a bet that over the last few weeks the number of middle aged men going through a midlife crisis has increased tenfold. The reason is simple, the Olympic Games. While being an avid supporter of the Olympics, I believe that the Olympics are dangerous to the emotional wellbeing of most men.
The reason I raise this point is that I have noticed this 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 43 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 or even half my age. Watching the women’s gymnastics the other evening the entire top five had a combined age of only 43. 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. 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 presenter who looks all of 18 with a silky smooth baby face to match.
These Olympics have certainly had an effective on me but now is the time I would like to 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 200m, 12 twenty 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 11,000 odd athletes competing in the games there are only 339 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 Japan to work that out.
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 – Stop looking at the guy who wins and compare your self to Rozmatjon Ogli from Uzbekistan who finished dead last, 15 minutes behind all the other competitors.