Guest post by my colleague and friend, Mark Beyer, whose daughter has participated in figure skating for much of her life.
I have seen multiple online articles about how this year was the “worst Olympic finish ever” in Figure Skating. I have a bit of a passion for this sport due to my daughter’s long involvement. Do me a favor if you hear anything from anybody like this about ANY sport or athletic competition, if you would indulge me.
– Our athletes do not receive government subsidies nor are they excused from regular education requirements while training.
– To compete at the Olympic level, our athletes have to WIN, so many times, over and over through layers of competitions to make it to the Olympics.
– Families pay money out of their livelihoods, forgoing leisurely vacations so they can travel to events and competitions for 10-15 years.
– The athletes take low-paying, irregular hourly jobs to fit in all their training and pursue their talent.
– Coaches make a full livelihood collecting large sums of money from the athletes.
– Entire facilities charge fees so high (because they cannot, in this case, put 100+ people on a crowded sheet of ice during training ice time) that some clubs forego using local rinks and find it actually cheaper to build their own!
– The Clubs have fund-raisers, do community service to earn local corporate sponsorships in $100, $500 and sometimes 3 0s (rarely) amounts a piece at a time, then pay for the travel, food and lodging of the professional judges who work without COMPENSATION for entire weeks.
– Only the top athletes ever receive equipment and travel sponsors.
– Clubs use their fund-raising and donations to pay limited stipends that can ONLY go to lodging, food or equipment to keep the athletes amateur status.
So sportswriters can keep their summary, ill-informed, unwanted and inaccurate positions about the efforts to themselves. They are sportswriters because they cannot create content unlike editorial opinion writers or unlike actual authors who create works of literature that last through the ages. They are REPORTERS, so report. The next time you read or hear a sports writer say anything about the results of these long efforts and dedication in any sport when it is FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT, tell them to “SHUT THE HELL UP” and stick to their profession: witnessing the greatness of others.