Sports Column: The price of victory

By Charles Jardine
Assistant Editor

As an athlete, many of my coaches have asked me the questions, “How bad do you want it? How much are you willing to sacrifice to win?” 

In high school when I played rugby, the answer was simple: tackle harder, don’t go down as easily and trust my teammates. This formula led my school to several state championships and long streaks of making the playoffs. 

The rugby program was led by Coach Mills, an army veteran, who brought the same intensity and familial bond to the team. This made us sacrifice everything for the team because the team was our family. 

However, in college things have been different. I throw the shot put and thought I had found a family under Coach Oliver, Fabian and Rue.  

These men made the hours of practice each day seem short and worthwhile. They knew how to encourage me, push me past my limits and keep me humble when I needed to be. 

Since this time the team has fallen into coaching troubles and lost over half of its participants. This has made it very hard on the remaining athletes and coaches – it feels like we are just scraping by a lot of the time now. 

Viktor Frankl said in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” that “if a man knows his why, he can bear almost any how.”  

My ‘why’ is becoming an All-American in the shot put. This has kept me pushing beyond what I thought my limits were, but it is not so simple as bearing the ‘how.’  

Without a full-time coaching staff, it has been hard to keep things together and create a culture like we had before. 

But I guess Frankl’s key word is ‘bear,’ because it becomes increasingly harder when it feels like I’m not fighting for anyone else anymore and when I’m doing it for an athletic program that I don’t feel has our best interest in mind. 

Another quote I often think of to push me on is from Alexander Karelin, a Russian Olympic wrestler, who once said “I still haven’t learned how to comment on this,” in reference to ending his career and a 13-year undefeated streak in defeat. 

I share the fear of not being able to cope with the failure of attaining my goals. It is something I try and work on and realize that wherever my best effort leads me I should be satisfied with.  

However, deep down I feel like I won’t be satisfied unless I reach that All-American status. It is this feeling that also helps push me to my limits. 

 So, what is the price of victory? Right now, I don’t know and don’t see a way to get there, but as I prepare for the next season, I can only hope for a miracle.  

I continue to push and grind with my teammates through the hard times, but I do hope that the university realizes that without strong leadership victory is much harder to achieve.