What does the word ‘Athlete’ mean to you? I would bet that your answer is different than the next person reading this article. If asked, some might say an athlete is someone who competes in sport, while others might contend that an athlete is someone who has excellent coordination and is capable of explosive movements.
The athlete in my definition is someone who goes for pleasure, pain, points and prizes with the sacrifice of maximum physical expression and the willingness to lose everything. When you use the term athlete, its describing individuals who are going after something and they’re going to lose everything for it.
Who an athlete is and what it means to be an athlete is a hotly contested issue. Many believe that simply participation in physical activity allows you to define yourself as an athlete. However, we believe this is not the case and this definition cheapens the sacrifice and effort actual athletes put into their chosen path.
In conclusion, this article does not serve to suggest that participants in fitness are any less worthy than athletes, just that the intent with which athletes pursue competition and maximum physical expression is very different from that of a fitness participant.
Athletes are willing to sacrifice mind, body and soul for the sake of putting points on a scoreboard. Athletes are single minded in their pursuits, which lead them to great physical and competitive heights while shirking off the many pleasures of modern life.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.