Every so often I cross paths with a few specially gifted folks who live in different postal codes than do I - folks who are well-hidden in unlisted locations up in the mountains or outside of the country all together.
You've likely seen them in your neck of the woods too, as they're the ones with two cars for each day of the week, and have a garage bigger than most of the local houses to store those prized possessions. If you haven't seen them, you've heard them speeding along through the forest at break-neck speeds in their powerful SUVs bearing stickers which state, "Loud Pipes Save Lives".
Undoubtedly, we've all seen them on television at one time or another and have formed bonds with them, eaten breakfast with them, stayed up late with them... spilled beer over the sofa because of them, bought posters of them when we were kids.
They are champions - the ones who never seem to lose.
Kids in our small communities - even those under under our own roofs - are doing the same things we did then, and, to an extent, are still doing now.
Whether you're eight or 28, you've likely worn your favourite's name on a shirt on your back and have had the same heroic figures gracing your bedroom walls - with the exception between you and a kid being the fact that your wives have at some point suggested that you grow up.
These folks whom we worship, I believe, are called athletes - and perhaps one or two of them might reach god-like status along the way.
These superstars walk down a red carpet leading to and from an arena near you, and deservingly they are lauded for accomplishing their goals. Most will remain strangers we love, and others will be enemies we bitterly despise and loathe.
Despite our attachments to them, however, we will never really be near enough to them to really know just how far we are from the people behind the achievements - the persons whose mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and grade school mates know and call them by the names of Justin (Gatlin)... David (Beckham)... Kajsa (Bergqvist)... Zlatan (Ibrahimovic)... Carro (Carolina Klüft)... and Hicham (El Guerrouj).