Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you're a pro track & field athlete, you need to pay attention to this...

If you are a regular reader of this blog, there's a good chance that you follow us on our Twitter page as well.

Two items that have been tweeted and retreated over the last few days were written by track and field commentator Ato Boldon (left/photo by Paul Merca), who probably knows just a little bit about life on the professional circuit.

In a series of 140-character tweets, Ato wrote about the ten things retired track & field athletes know that active athletes don't.

In a follow up tweet, the reason why Boldon wrote this is because, “I put these out, not because I followed them all perfectly, not to preach, but because I didn’t in some cases,”

In light of the recent lawsuit against Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant over unpaid custom jewelry, Ato's #1 tweet makes a lot of sense for aspiring and current professional athletes, not only in track & field, but other sports.

10. Save some of all that free gear you constantly give away. It will end.

9. No one ever remembers the pain, but medals are forever. Push! No pro track athlete ever died from a workout. Post-career regret sucks.

8. No one from that shoe company you love so much loves you. Romance with no finance is a nuisance. The more in love you are, the less you make.

7. The competitors you think you hate so much now will be your friends when you are retired. Dont take it that seriously. Compete without hate.

6. Figure out what job you will do next, in early or mid-career, not post career. Few get to decide when they retire, most get forced out.

5. One day you’ll awake and won’t be fast anymore. Does your career define your whole life or existence? It shouldn’t! Have a life so you dont have to go get one after.

4. Make use of the best thing about being a track athlete – the travel. Years in exotic locales, but all you know is hotels and McDonald’s is pointless. Get outside, take pictures, learn something. Experience other lands.

3. Your career is infinitely more fun with a good training group. Choose your training group wisely. Chances are if you hate your career after, it’s because you hated your training partners, bounced around to several, or had none.

2. Europe can be wild and crazy and fun… and it can also shorten your career drastically if you are incapable of not acting a damn fool there. Euro “wine and men/women” have prematurely ended many a promising career.

1. Save your money like your life depends on it (it does) and make it earn more while you are earning a lot of it. And yes, get a pro to do this. “Your cousin who’s good with money” doesn’t count.

On another subject, Ato, in an exchange with sprinter Wallace Spearmon, tweeted his six rules of how the USA can fix the never-ending 4 x 100m relay problem.

Here's the link:

In a follow up, I asked if his rule #3 applies to the shoe companies ("Yup"), and "the politicians and network tv execs--remember Carl Lewis in 1996?"

In recalling the case in which politicians tried to campaign to put Lewis on the Atlanta 4 x 1 team, Boldon tweeted, "problem was they lost so he got to say HA.. his defenders say he would have "intimidated the other anchors". Not Bailey (referring to Canada's Donovan Bailey, who also won the 100m in Atlanta)."

Follow Ato Boldon on Twitter here...

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