Guest post: Winning at any cost

Originally a comment by Rob on Collective frustration.

Winning at sport is a hugely compelling motive for people who are into sports. Even if there’s no money involved, even if there are no scholarships at stake.

I can certainly attest to that. While I played some sport at high school, it was not a focus for my life, but as an adult I took up a high risk aviation sport and discovered that I was very highly competitive – even though the most recognition that got you was a ‘nice flight’ from peers. Competitive enough that I’ve more than once put my life on the line, which once back on the ground was clearly stupid, but in the air seemed like a carefully reasoned and absolutely proper thing to do.

Athletes in whatever sport aim to be the best they can, and preferably to win. I see that in my partner and her multi-sport friends. None of them is ever going to win a major contest, but they devote enormous resources in both time and money to maintaining and incrementally extending their performance. And this is middle aged women doing it for kicks, not people chasing life changing scholarships, promotional deals, and representative team slots.

I remember a couple of decades ago a large number of college and potential Olympic athletes were anonymously polled whether they would use a performance enhancing drug that would guarantee an Olympic win, but lead to a dramatically shortened lifespan. An eye popping number (I recall it as being between 20-30%) said they would.

I don’t have any idea what goes on in William/Lia’s head, but I have no problem in believing that winning and fame at any cost is lurking in there somewhere.

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