len's masthead




londoner editor pic





Society tends to worship elite athletes as long as they perform well. Once they fall prey to injuries/age they become just ordinary people and the admiration curdles into disdain.

That is the reality that all elite athletes face to be able to have a fleeting chance for fame and fortune.

Every professional hockey football tennis player hopes to hear the applause by the fans in the stands until they are in their thirties or if they are lucky forties. Seems ridicules to equate 30 and 40 years of age as old: there is always a best before time unwritten contract before time is the equalizer for the majority of our elite athletes.

In the NFL ( National Football League) every one knows that in their career over time they will get injured. The only question is when and how long they will be able to compete. I guess that is why the players translate the letters NFL to be -``Not For Long``.

Tiger Woods the former darling of the professional golf tour recently had his mug shot exposed after being arrested for driving under the influence for pain medication after his recent spine surgery. Tiger has endured many sport related injuries in his 20 years of playing golf. Neck, shoulder, a couple of torn ACL`s, multiple achillea, back surgeries, pinched nerve spasms with many other surgeries that has not alleviated his pain. He has been a painful text book case of elite athletes who in the long run abuse their bodies.

At the relatively ancient age of 41 he can no longer compete on the professional golf circuit. He tells his followers ‘that he hopes to return to his former self in the near future.` To keep his sponsors happy and paying for the use of his name Tiger can not say the career ending word RETIRED.

Eugene Bouchard, Canada’s former darling of women’s tennis fame is no longer ranked in the top ten in the world contenders. She has dropped to the low seventies in her rankings. Of late she has become her own greatest doubter and as a result has become a consistent loser at the age of only 23. Sad that was once what was a fresh young bright star has faded.

She may have become a loser but she may be this country’s most fearless tennis player by trying to compete on a world stage of elite athletes.

The reality in sports is that when you lose the silence of the fans and the media is deafening. Sort of like trying to clap with one hand and be noticed by those watching the show. No one loves a loser. Too soon the athletes are yesterday’s athletes but distant memories of their past successes. You are only as good as your last game that you played ; the media and fans quickly forget you and magically anoint the newest youngest competitive elite athlete.

Like the gladiators in the Roman Coliseum the mob always favours the victors. Losers are not even given their due to at least acknowledge that they fought bravely and gave the best they could to please the fans.

Many athletes should memorize the musical refrain, "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers : "know when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away."

I trust that elite athletes have a future game plan after the referee blows the final whistle?

Len Lesser is an education career counselor in Dorchester. Please send along your opinion lenlesser"hotmail.coms

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com