Does hard, honest work pay off in the world of professional sport? Does cycling reward its faithful servants? I think we all wish the answer to these questions was a resounding “YES!", we all want so bad to believe in the rewards of hard, honest efforts. The real picture, however, is more complex. Much more complex.
We yearn for fairness in sport, much like we do in life. Spectators discuss whether or not the victory was deserved. Did the best man win? We want the hard working, “under-dog" to win.
But we know better. There are no “deserved" victories or fairness in sports. We have lots of rules and regulations and even a few athletes that try and cheat. We even have this concept of fair play, but there are no governing body that evaluates hard work and reward efforts based on this. Long, faithful service does not make a bit of a difference. And quite honestly, it shouldn't. This is professional sports. Everyone is in it for themselves and it's up to you to create your own future.
And because of this “lawlessness", because there is no system that rewards hard work, we all rejoice when that hard, honest and faithful athlete once in a great while wins. We say to ourselves “he really deserved to win".
If you travel down in the heart of competitive sports, deep down into the abyss, you find a simple truth; every competitor has to perform his best and each man is for himself. We all have to compete within the rules and regulations, but without knowing that every athlete did his very best, the victory leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.
You see, the real joy of winning does not take place at the award ceremony, nor at the press-conference afterwards. It is a short, but indescribable feeling of joy the moment you cross the finish line, and you know. You know that today you were the best. Today you won, you beat them all.
I am a full-time endurance athlete, working towards the 2012 London Olympics. I maintain a blog, describing my ups and downs of training / racing. http://roadrace1.blogspot.com