Americans revere athletic excellence, competitive success, and it’s more than lip service we pay; we vote with our wallets. We’ll pay large sums to watch a truly great athlete; we’ll reward him with celebrity and adulation and will even go so far as to buy products and services he endorses.
But it’s better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing. Oh, we’ll invoke lush cliches about the lonely heroism of Olympic athletes, the pain and analgesia of football, the early rising and hours of practice and restricted diets, the preflight celibacy, et cetera. But the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one’s mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think. Note the way “up close and personal” profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life — outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what’s obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It’s farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child’s world, is very small.
David Foster Wallace 1995 String Theory
I really wasn’t surprised then to read that Tim Tebow, Big Bird and Lady Gaga topped the list of America’s most wanted dinner guests for Turkey Day. The world’s most famous backup quarterback polled first in the Destination America survey, with 23 percent of respondents saying they’d want Tebow to bless their spread. Big Bird, came in second, and pLady Gaga finished third. The trio polled ahead of President Obama, who despite winning re-election, had only 5 percent of this popular vote.
What do you think ?
- Tim Tebow Tops President Obama in Voters’ Poll of Desired Thanksgiving Guests (bleacherreport.com)
- Tim Tebow Voted the Person Most Americans Would Want for Thanksgiving Guest, Beating Barack Obama (nesn.com)
- Americans prefer Tebow to Obama as Thanksgiving dinner guest (nypost.com)
- Americans Would Rather Share Thanksgiving Dinner With Tim Tebow Than Barack Obama (manolith.com)