Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just some thoughts

Singapore till date has won 3 medals in YOG, 2 bronze and 1 silver and the games are only at the half way point, meaning the tally may still increase. This is already a much better result than our efforts in the usual senior Olympic Games, which Singapore has over the last 40 plus years just amassed a total of 2 silver medals.

This sets me thinking, “Is it harder for sportsmen in Singapore to perform at the senior level than it is to perform at the youth level?”

Of the 3 medals for YOG, 1 of them was achieved by our youth swimmer, Rainer Ng, in the 50metres backstroke.

Taken from an interview with Rainer’s mum: “It (the one-year off) was definitely worth it. Swimming is Rainer’s passion, he wants to swim. As parents, we will support him because swimming has a very short lifespan. We have to make full use of every chance he has,” she said.

Rainer took 1 year off his studies just to train for his passion. Taking a 1 year off is too much of a luxury for working adults like myself. How I wish I can afford to just take a year off for my passion, but the responsibilities of a working adult and the opportunity cost (may be as much as $50,000 - $100,000 or more a year) are far greater than that when you were just a teenager.

I feel this may be 1 of the biggest reason why Singapore sportsmen at the senior level cannot perform as well as their youth counterparts. In the ultra fast paced society of Singapore, to balance time between a full time job and training is a tough thing to do; plus the fact that as an adult, you simply cannot afford to stop working and take a full year off (Most once graduated, are immediately burdened with their study loans etc). And once you start your working life, most of us are no longer so lucky to have our parents say they will support us for a year and go do whatever we loved, like Rainer’s did.

Well my only answer to this is to sacrifice a big portion of my sleep and socialization with my colleagues. Now I really envy the youths, and reminisce the times that I had just a few years back.

P.S: For those still in your youths, really make full use of your time to indulge and live for your passion now. For those on the verge to graduate into the working society, really grasp hold of your last chances of “freedom”, appreciate what you have now and treasure every moment you have doing what you love now, before you get sucked into the rat race. Complain less and do more.

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