Then Helliker went from crank to nut:
Now, a generational battle is raging in endurance athletics. Old-timers are suggesting that performance-related apathy among young amateur athletes helps explain why America hasn't won an Olympic marathon medal since 2004...No wonder Putin laughs at us: It's like the first half of Rocky IV all over again.
Some observers see larger and scarier implications in the declining competitiveness of young endurance athletes. "This is emblematic of the state of America's competitiveness, and should be of concern to us all," Toni Reavis, a veteran running commentator, wrote in a blog post this week entitled "Dumbing Down, Slowing Down."
But instead of fighting back, the young increasingly are thumbing their nose at the very concept of racing.Not that! Next they'll be thumbing their nose at game shows and fairground attractions.
Among some, it simply isn't cool, an idea hilariously illustrated in a 2007 YouTube Video called the Hipster Olympics. In those Games, contestants do anything to avoid crossing the finish line—drink beer, lounge in the grass, surf the Web.
Yet something remotely akin to that is happening...Yes, since some mass-attendance endurance events don't emphasize winning as much as they did during the days of the Space Race and the Cold War, America's runners are just sort of jogging diffidently anymore as they take selfies and talk in fruity voices about artisanal pickles. And the impact goes beyond sports:
Likening to communism events that promote "hand-holding over competition," [some jock] said, "How well is that everybody-gets-a-trophy mentality working in our schools?"I had all kinds of reactions to this, mostly incoherent swears, but the best gloss on it is actually contained in the first cluster of comments to the article: A guy points out that America actually still performs brilliantly in athletic competitions (duh), and someone comes in and says,
But Kevin isn't saying that US runners are no longer competitive at the elite level. He's saying that the competitiveness doesn't extend down through the ranks of newbie runners. More people are running, but most of the newcomers take it much less seriously than they did a generation ago. That's incontrovertible.Like a sane person who lives on the planet Earth, the original poster says, so what? And another person says that sane response "demonstrates the thesis of the story above. Hedonism outranks competitiveness and turns a race into a party."
Imagine what the Founding Fathers would think of us reducing the dignity of a footrace.
So if you're not a serious runner, but you'd like to improve yourself a bit and train for and participate in, say, your local marathon, and you make it all the way through the twenty-six point two fucking miles but you didn't leave it all on the track like the original Marathoner, you're part of what's wrong with America today, slacker punk.
You know where this is coming from: The same well of desperation that recently gave us the claim that leftist teachers are strangling the competitive spirit of young males by making them play the feminizing game of freeze tag. As it becomes clearer to these idiots that a large number and possibly a majority of Americans have figured out that the economy is fucked, and anyone offering a thumbs-up, can-do, elbow-grease solution that, oh by the way, involves cutting entitlements is obviously a grifter who wants to steal what's left of your savings, the grifters are getting pissed. So they drop the smiley-sunshine pitch and hector us that we don't have the stuff, that they're wasting their time talking to the likes of you, and stalk off to find some fresh suckers.
And they're running out of those.