Athletes’ Dais

by George Gross, Jr.

Ode to Amateur Athletes

Through many doors we came to our world

Of amateur sport and all its needs;

Where many fail, while one succeeds

To have a country’s flag unfurled.


Existing sometimes as robots are we,

Locked in a training regimen that binds,

As daily, our bodies and our minds,

We give in benign harlotry;

But in giving lies little pleasure,

Rather pain, fatigue and boredom.

Constantly do these agonies come.

In magnitudes we cannot measure.


Pressures of success appear like tumours,

Which only grow, nurturing destruction,

And manifest themselves in compunction,

Which robs us of our good humours;

In failure lies our paranoia,

And all our hopes we settle

On the elusive Olympic medal:

Our paregoric panacea.


Yet here is where support should lie,

From coaches, parents and friends,

That in trying are the dividends,

Which later in life we shall apply;

Our social beings are slow to evolve,

As the years of teenhood slip away,

And without the conflicts day to day,

We miss the chance to them resolve.


But character grows in many ways.

With discipline and sacrifice a mighty pair,

Which helps us on our way to where

We mature without delays;

The friendships formed mean so much more,

Because they stand the tests of time

And separation, which seem to climb

In front of comradery’s happy door.


For few in life will ever know,

The joys we capture year to year,

In reuniting friendships without fear

Of losing bonds that easily grow;

The world is seen through free travel,

Eiffel, St. Basil’s, Stoke-on-Trent,

The mysteries of cultures different,

Which stays in foreign lands unravel.


What can match the honour, jubilation,

When the final step is made,

To an Opening Ceremonies parade,

Where we represent our nation?

Yes, we’ve honour, travel, comradery,

But recognition is slow to arrive.

As we struggle to survive,

In an uncaring society.


And in final analysis we see,

The odds which face us are unique,

Pros earn money while they play past their peak,

While friends have jobs, homes, security;

So we gather our glory about us,

And like slumbering sots stay sated,

With goals accomplished (for which we’ve waited)

So the real world will not doubt us.


But the long term jolts the vision,

For how long in glory can one bask?

And so in silent soliloquy we ask:

‘Is there life after competition?’


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