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What is excellence? Is it perfection, a goal, a feeling, a gift? To some athletes, it is an everyday challenge that comes easy; to others it might not be so easy. Whether it holds a psychological meaning or it’s just another goal to set, it shows a persons attitude and dedication towards a sport. To what extremes will people actually go to reach excellence? Some athletes strive so hard that they will try almost anything to reach their peak of excellence, the extremes that some go through to reach that peak may be either a safe or dangerous road to travel.
People today go through many different avenues while striving for excellence in sports. The main objective these days seems to achieve excellence in the shortest possible time in order for self-satisfaction or for some kind of proof that one is capable of excelling better then someone else. Sports have a variety of difficulties. Excellence is a goal that is worked for, and no matter how long it takes, it is worth the wait.
The avenues people seem to use as a so-called excellence booster may or may not be the best way for striving for this goal. Over-the-counter supplements are one example of an excellence booster to some people. Just the term over the counter makes it sound okay for people to take; yet it can be harmful, and detrimental.
Most athletes, for example, will try almost anything to get bigger, stronger, or faster, in the shortest amount of time possible. This is a personal goal for excellence to them. If there is some over-the-counter supplement or product that will decrease the amount of time it takes to do these things, then a lot of athletes will go down this road because of their own personal dedication. The problem is, this road has consequences and dangers. One of the most common over the counter supplements used today is ephedrine. Ephedrine is a natural central-nervous system stimulant derived from Chinese herbs. Ephedrine is sold in pill form to display that it is okay to take, as any over the counter medicine or vitamin would be. Ephedrine is marketed as a dietary supplement, appetite suppressant, herbal stimulant, a muscle builder, and an inhancer of sexual potency.
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According to a CNN.com article in sports on Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler, ephedrine was the cause of death. Wheeler took an ephedrine filled dietary supplement before he died suddenly at a summer conditioning drill. The cause of death was researched and Wheeler suffered a ventricular arrhythmia of his heart at the time of his death. Ephedrine caused this heart attack to occur because it stimulated his heart rate to the point that it became overloaded. Wheeler was said by his teammates to be a very dedicated athlete and would do anything to get better. In other words, would take any risk to achieve the goal of excellence. This seamless act of determination to reach excellence caused death. This avenue is an example of a detrimental avenue.
According to researcher Jody L. Aaron,“ some over-the-counter drugs can kill you; Ephedrine is one of them.” The risks of this drug are extreme. This road which people take to reach excellence is very dangerous. For what reason is excellence worth dying over? To many athletes, it is easy to overlook such risks in the heat of determination. So, what does it take to do your very best without using over -the -counter supplements to inhance your physical strength?
According to Shane M. Murphy, Ph.D. in psychological consulting, “ the answer is that top athletes reach excellence by not only perfecting their physical skills, they also train to master their psychological skills that allow them to deliver their best in competition.” People who are extremely dedicated to sports learn the mental skills of competition now to reach excellence in the future. They do not cheat their way into learning or becoming something unnatural, by using some drug enhancer to produce faster outcomes. According to Murphy, “athletes get in a “Zone”, which is a psychological focus within that helps them to reach their form of excellence”. For decades, Murphy has been helping people reach their “Zones” in their own personal ways. He believes it is a “mind/body harmony” within someone that helps him or her to reach excellence. This psychological way of training oneself seems to be a very un-risky attempt to become excellent.
The goal for excellence may or may not be what every athlete is striving for, though. According to Alpheus Finlayson a dedicated fan towards track and field, athletes are considered to be high achievers in their area of specialty, some are focused on achieving excellence but others just like to get by knowing they just made the team. He believes that, through every endeavor in life, whether it is sports, business, or school, excellence should hold a meaning personally. Too many people just like to get by, while others actually work hard to achieve excellence. The point of this argument is to inform one that “excellence should be a born instinct, or feeling,” according to Finlayson. Everyone should strive for excellence in everything, and do so in a way that psychologically benefits your own personal goals. It is a mind controlling feeling that makes an athlete, or anybody go that extra step to reach their goals in life.
From psychological avenues, to unnatural avenues such as over-the-counter supplements, everyone who wants to achieve excellence goes about it in the best way for them. If it is a born instinct to an athlete, or anybody, then psychological goals usually are set through hard work and dedication, and nothing else. If one feels like they are not good enough to reach excellence, then they may choose different roads to travel such as over-the-counter drugs, to satisfy their ambitions to become excellent.
Whether it is a good or bad way to achieve excellence, everyone still holds some sort of determination. Whether you are at the top of your game and you are the best at what you do, or you are at the bottom and the worst, deep inside everyone holds some goal for excellence in something. The extremes some will go to vary, depending on how strong their determinations are. If one's focus is becoming excellent naturally then their mind set is fixed on becoming excellent naturally. If one is more focused on the rewards of excellence too selfishly then they may overlook the dangers that are involved. The dangers are the over-the-counter supplements that athletes take to enhance their performance. According to Danny Richardson a Human Resources manager at Regent University and Michelle Nobles a record office manager at Regent University, both agreeably stated that “each individual holds their own destiny in the palm of their hands, the decisions you make in life are what will determine your outcome. One should never have to chance everything just for a taste of excellence, but strive for excellence through hard work and dedication.” In other words, do not go to extremes where you could risk your life just to achieve excellence, let it come naturally through hard work and patience.
In conclusion, excellence is a goal most people work for, just in different ways. Sometimes striving for excellence to quickly makes some people forget how risky it can be. Over-the-counter drugs are always a risk because they can damage the body. People do not want to realize that risk because they are so interested in becoming excellent in the fastest time possible, with less hard work and determination involved. There are safe ways of becoming excellent and there are dangerous ways. The extremes athletes will go to sometimes to reach excellence may be an easy and effortless way to go about it, but if the dangers and risks are overlooked then excellence will never be achieved.
1. Aaron, Jody. Death Over-The-Counter: Dangers of Ephedrine. 13 March. 2003.
3. Murphy, Shane. Sports Excellence. 14 March. 2003 http://www.shpm.com/articles/sports/ahizone.html.
4. Nobles, Michelle. Telephone Interview. 10 March 2003
5. Richardson, Danny. Personal Interview. 10 March 2003.
6. Wheeler’s Death not Ephedrine Related? 20 August.2001. 12 March. 2003