Goals in life always come at a cost. This is especially true in the sports world. Baseball, basketball, football, and hockey athletes put in hours, days, and years of practice to reach their goals. The world of swimming is no different; whether the goal is to make a high school team, earn a college scholarship, or merely to swim a personal best time. There are very few athletes, whose talent level has been blessed by the gods, who have the Olympics as their goal.
Swimming’s price is practice, practice, and more practice. Put your head in the water for hours each day and swim lap after lap. There is no looking around, no conversing with teammates; just stroke after stroke. There are early morning practices and little social life.
Eric Shanteau is a United States breaststroker. He had the talent to make his Olympic ambitions a realistic goal. He had paid the price but life is rarely fair. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer just before the United States Olympic trials. The cancer was not spreading but it was recommended that he undergo surgery. What decision would you make? What is the cost of the possibility of an Olympic medal?
Shanteau swam at the trails and made the USA Olympic team. Another decision was made to put off any surgery until after the Olympic Games.
Shanteau has moved from the prelims to the semi-finals of the 200 breaststroke. He has an outside chance to win a medal but has achieved a goal and realized a dream of swimming in the Olympics. I will be cheering for him.
The cost of being an Olympic athlete is always high. Eric Shanteau will never receive the recognition of a Michael Phelps and will probably never stand on top of the Olympic podium. But he has made a decision to pay a higher price to compete than just about any of the 11,000 athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games.
What price would you pay to pursue your dreams?