It’s said that track and field is an individual sport, and that’s true in many ways, but in any movement towards the promised land you will get there much faster as a team collectively rather than individually. Our sport’s culture has created track and field athletes that don’t see a future for our sport and thus keep their focus exclusively on their own career. Don’t get me wrong – doing whatever you need to do to make the best out of your professional career should always be at the forefront – but you must pay your dues. Just like we pay taxes as citizens of this country, the same things applies to being a U.S. track and field athlete. We are are the blood pumping in the body of our sport, the organs that keep the body functioning, and it seems as if little by little our body is breaking down and losing functionality.
What do I think? I think that track and field has bred a race full of leaders. This sounds like a great thing until you realize exactly what a leader is. A leader has followers, followers that share the same thoughts and concepts. Followers that will follow their lead. You see, every leader has a vision of how things should be, and it is their job to direct the followers toward that vision. But what happens when you have a bunch of leaders and no followers? A bunch of leaders with a bunch of ideas of how our sport should be now and in the future.
Our sport is in dire need of all of us athletes coming together for the greater good. I know it sounds so cliche, but it’s so true and so necessary at this time. While we are fighting amongst each other about who gets paid the most and who deserves more than one another or who’s the face of our sport, there is an uprising of people outside our circle with their own vision of what our sport should be. So how do we direct our attention toward getting all of these leaders (athletes) to come together? We can start by finding our commonalities. For instance, we all want our sport to survive, we all want our sport to be amongst the most popular sports in our country and the world, and we all want security in our sport, into which we put so much of our lives, training and sacrificing every day.