USA vs. the World Cup

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It seems that America only knows how to fight a good fight.  Never more true has this been than in the 2014 World Cup, where USA has beaten and clawed its way up to face the undefeated team, Belgium.  After an unfortunate loss to Germany, words bubbled about America’s expectations, but USA seems doggedly determined to beat the odds this time around.

As soccer, as we know it, has become more popular on this side of the pond, so has the USA’s standing in the World Cup.  We suffered a disappointing 0-1 loss against Germany, but spirits are undaunted as we turn to face one of football’s top contenders.  More importantly, players that have been considered more of a liability, have managed to hold together, and keep a solid front, adding strength to what would otherwise be one of the weakest World Cup team contenders.  This year’s system of cards and flags has given cause for concern, but regardless, USA has managed to hold on.  Yes, a few players have had hard a time holding up to the pressure, but on the whole, this has been USA’s best year yet.  Not only have they had to compete with some of the most experienced World Cup teams, surviving the group of death, but they have also had the unfortunate lot of being the most travelled team throughout the series.

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The Difference between USA Athletes, and everyone else

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When it comes to sports and athletics, America has everyone beat.  Year after year, the USA produces top athletes, sportsmen, gold medalists, and trophy winners.  With the arrival of the Winter Olympics this year, and the upcoming World Cup, 2014 looks like it’s going to be another year for USA athletes to shine.  So what is it that has allowed USA athletes to shine above the rest?  USA is known for beating the odds and coming out on top, and we help set the definition of what it means to be an ideal athlete in this modern day and age.

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What it means to be a Healthy Sportsman

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Here in America, we pride ourselves, we pride ourselves on both our athletes, and their abilities.  Yet, alongside that that prowess, there has been rising controversy in the health of many of our athletes.  From drug scandals, to major physical injuries, the sports realm has received also a lot of criticism across the board for their treatment of athletes.  Remember, these are our prime sportsmen, who are valued and celebrated because of their physical acumen.  It always boils down to one, universal question, if your job is to push the limit, how far is too far?

It’s a discussion that reaches every single, major athletic competition in this country.  From weightlifters to swimmers, decathlon runners and football players, our players’ health is a major topic across every media outlet.  Part of any athletes’ job is to represent the ideal image of health and fitness of man, so how healthy are our athletes anyway?  First, we need to define the idea of health.

Physical Fitness:

Of course, we all have our own individual perceptions of ‘physically fit’.  We recognize it in the football players, jocks, weightlifters, personal trainers, and in general, all athletic competitors.  Our players are in peak physical condition, with trained and refined bodies, that often become idealized and emulated.  But our competitors are also notorious for pushing their bodies to the extreme.  Being active in sports does not mean simply engaging in a physical activity, it’s also about leading a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, there are still a few athletes out their besmirching the name of all American competitors, with either physical or substance abuse.

It’s an ongoing problem here in the United States, and one that doesn’t seem to have an easy resolution.  The sports scandals always hit the big news, from baseball, to swimming, to cycling- problems of drug abuse and overtraining are all over the field.  We try to limit our athletes’ exposure to controlled substances, but whether to have a good time, or bring the “best” performance to a game, somehow a few manage to slip through the cracks in regulations.  Take for example, the most recent Tour de France.  As testimony and events from that time also show, this problem isn’t just limited to the United States.  You can see this in the past several Olympics, where competitors from various countries, events, and years have been disqualified for substance abuse.

Overtraining is another problem- being too physically fit.  This can lead to muscle problems, and mental disorders, the result of pressure to stay in shape, and on the top of your game.  Media coverage and advertising endorsements put a lot stress on our athletes to be the best, but when that need starts overtaking your life, you can be putting your health at risk.

Mental Fitness:

It is not enough to be physically fit, but mental and cognitive abilities must be assessed as well.  In light of recent tragedies that have smeared the name of competitive sportsmanship, professionals have begun taking a look at the mental fitness of our athletes.  While sports provide us with a source of entertainment, it should not be done at the expense of the individual athlete.  Sports provide us with a healthy outlet for our energies, but when we suffer serious trauma, a line needs to be drawn.  Athletes and competitors often put their bodies at risk in the activities they engage in, or the moves they perform.  Many regularly sustain injury as a result, but when that minor to major injury becomes life threatening, that is a problem.

So what does the United States do about the mental fitness of their sportspersons?  It’s a tragedy to know that a lifelong and even legendary sports career can result in permanent damage that can render you mentally incompetent, and worse, a danger to yourself and others.  That’s why frequent full medical examinations are an important part of sports and fitness.  It’s also important to be able to manage your time and your schedule well, and understand the stresses in your life that can be the result of sports.  Many athletes are too busy to recognize their breaking points, and thus don’t deal with them accordingly.  That’s dangerous territory, which can lead to eating disorders, mental disorders, and even manifest itself physically.

Here in the United States, we have many organizations and schools devoted to the physical and mental therapy of our competitors.  Education is a key part of this process.  Another is teamwork, being able to treat your teammates like a second family, have confidence in them, and be responsible enough to be reliable.  I see excellent teamwork from many foreign competitors, who seem to better understand group dynamic, without the constant media press and sports coverage our athletes on home court have to be subjected to.

How Should Athletes Be Supporting Themselves? (Why Not Work From Home)

Everyone knows about the high profile athletes that make millions of dollars every year on winnings and sponsorship. And good luck to them.

However the reality is for the vast majority of athletes, including some very successful athletes in some less mainstream sports, that simply pursuing a career as an athlete does not pay the bills. Whilst many government support training programs for athletes the support rarely amounts to a significant amount of money.

And therefore supporting themselves financially becomes an issue for many athletes. Not only do they need to earn a living, as does everybody else, but they also need to do so with a background of many hours each day spent training, which reduces the time available to work at some other form of income producing work.

So today we wanted to examine the possibility that athletes could work from home online to produce an income to support their training.

What are the benefits of working from home for an athlete?

For many athletes the day starts early. Swimmers, for example, are often training in the small hours of the morning, and by the time they get home for breakfast have spent many hours in the water. Other athletes often spend the afternoon in training.
One of the benefits of working from home, in many types of work from home jobs, is that the individual is able to choose the hours and the length of time they work. There is great flexibility for people who work from home.

This gives the athlete the possibility of structuring their work hours around their training hours, which increases the likelihood they will be able to devote their full attention to training. If they work from home on a flexible basis then they can make their training regime their number one priority, and structure their work hours around that.

They will also have themselves as their own boss. Whilst being employed as its own benefits, for example a regular wage, it may be difficult for some athletes to convince the boss to allow them the flexibility that they need to pursue their chosen profession. Many employers don’t quite understand that for a serious athlete their training comes first and their work comes second.

Another advantage of working from home is that athletes spend weeks or even months each year travelling to attend athletic events. Many work from home jobs simply require a computer and an Internet connection, and this gives the athlete an opportunity to work in other locations as well as something to do with their time when they are not competing or training.

So what would an athlete do to work from home? There’s many possibilities. For instance many athletes launch their own line of clothing, like underwear or swimwear or training shoes. Much of the work can be done from home, for example building a website and marketing the products. Modern Internet technology allows for all of this work to be done anywhere provided there is a good Internet connection.

There is also a range of other opportunities, for example many athletes move into athletic commentating after retirement as well as freelance writing about their chosen sport. Freelance writing is the perfect profession to someone to pursue at home. Find out more about freelance writing at http://www.aussieinvestigator.com/how-to-become-a-freelance-writer/.

So if you’re an athlete who is a successful athlete but not a high profile one who does not earn the big dollars that some do, then it may well be worth considering opportunities for you to work from home in your spare time. It might bring in some extra dollars and give you some flexibility at the same time.