Eight days have passed since the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games. What happens to the athletes after they return home? What about those who didn’t win a medal or were injured or who now plan to retire? Is there life after the Olympics?
Steven Portenga, director of sport psychology services at the University of Denver says, "It's not uncommon for a lot of Olympic athletes to come back and go through depression for a little while, because they don't know what's next.”
My two sons competed in football – one for eighteen years and one for seventeen. I was their coach for much of their careers and their biggest fan at all of their games. When they played their final down of University football we faced our "what's next" moment.
I think I had a harder time after their final game than they did. Many of my August to November Saturdays, from 2001 to 2009, were pleasantly occupied with traveling to Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver to see them play. Was there life after football…for me?
I’ve missed coaching. It took a couple of years before I wouldn’t get the itch come August to go to a pre-season High School practice just to be around the athletes. One day I’ll put my coaches hat back on and enjoy the gridiron sidelines again.
Thinking about life after the Olympics or football brought me to the realization that there is no “life after writing.” Writing is a highly engaging, highly intense and highly rewarding activity that is seemingly endless. Writing is a marathon rather than a sprint.
Writers need never retire. As long as a writer can hold a pen or type on a keyboard or dictate their thoughts, they can stay “in the game” as long as they want.
That’s not to say that writers won’t experience a season in their life when they feel like giving up on writing. Discouragement, dry spells, distractions or rejection letters from publishers can make the writing life a grind.
Ryan Hall, an American Olympic marathoner, went through a tough two-year period where he wasn't performing well on the track or in the classroom at Stanford. Depressed, he left for a quarter and went home, unsure that he would return. But his depression only worsened.
He went back to school and kept pushing through. Hall said that it's important for athletes to “give themselves time to work through” the hard times.
That’s good advice for Olympians and writers.
Push through! Write on!
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
Follow Bob on: