A key focus of my blog is Athletics and Sports. People debate sports all the time. What’s particularly compelling is the comparison of heroes/players from different eras. While great points are made on both sides, these comparisons of eras are typically impossible to make and inconclusive due to numerous factors. The following contributed post is entitled, Should We Compare The Sports Heroes Of Today To The Ones Of Yesteryear?
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They just don’t make them like they used to, do they? Or is this statement completely irrelevant in the modern age? In terms of sports, we always look to the Muhammad Alis, Johnny Unitas’, and Magic Johnsons of the world, and think that the modern sports hero cannot hold a torch to them. But is it even fair for us to compare the sports heroes of today to the ones of yesteryear? Or do we just have a romanticized view of sport back in the olden days? In fact, is it even fair to compare the two? Are the modern sports heroes under so much more pressure, and are they more physically adroit than the older champions?
The Trials And Tribulations
You can look at it from two perspectives: the social media struggle, and the political one. You can look at the modern sports hero fighting a torrent of social media abuse, which is part and parcel of any game. But even if you look at the heroes of yesteryear, like Niagara Falls basketball legend Carlos Bradberry, there was a different sort of struggle. Naturally, there was a major political struggle back in the heyday of sports in the 1960s and 1970s, which is still, in some areas, carrying through to today. Especially when you look at the topic of transgender issues in sport and even the topic of religion can bring up a whole plethora of debate. Whether it’s the major NFL stars that are observing Ramadan, or younger players like Parker Sniatynski and their Christian beliefs, the modern sports hero has their battles on more than just the playing field. The modern sports hero, it can be argued, have fewer issues to contend with because we supposedly live in a more tolerant world. But it all depends on who you ask! There is still an inherent amount of political struggle in any sport.
The Physical Strength
This depends on the game. While there is a steady increment of records being broken in pretty much every sport with every passing year, can you even compare the physical prowess of a modern football player to the heroes of the 50s and 60s? Training regimes are tougher, and there’s more science behind it, but likewise, you can still argue that the old training methods are the best. There’s a reason why many bodybuilders stick to the classic approaches pioneered by people like Reg Park. These days, from the perspective of an outsider, the modern approach to building muscle is all about quick fixes and cutting corners, when physical strength is really all about the classic methods. With this device, you can also argue that the modern sports star has a lot more comfort in their lives. This could have a major bearing on how they play the game.
The Evolving Of The Game
Most may think that there hasn’t been much change to the game, regardless of the surroundings. But from the Olympics to football and everything in between, there has been a major period of evolving. Because any athlete has to work harder to break the previous records, this means that the game has to change with the times. The game can become harder, not necessary by the rules changing, but by the people playing the game becoming a higher caliber. As the game evolves it’s blatantly unfair to make comparisons to those that came before. The game can change, but only by the stimuli that surrounds it. The rules remain the same, but the players will change.
The Inspiration Of The Old Guard
The reasons that these big names are considered legends, because they are pioneers. As such, we need to hold these members of the old guard in high regard. And when we look to our heroes, and those that triumphed over adversity or limiting circumstances, we can’t help but feel inspired, but also feel that we have got a lot more to help us become better at the game. The sportspeople of yesteryear had to overcome trial-and-error, whereas we can have it put on a plate as to the right workout plan, nutritional guidelines, and so on. We just have to stick to them. But we need to make an impact on the game in a different way. It’s about learning that mental toughness that those heroes overcame. As such, while it may be unfair to compare the sports heroes of today to those of yesteryear, in terms of physical prowess or the game itself, most definitely, the people that came before us have had it more difficult.