The Nature of Competition

Football

We made it! We can stop asking “#IsItJuneYet?” and make the hashtag-shift to #CFLTC. Training camps across the league are now in full effect with the veterans and rookies taking to the field to compete for jobs that will only come to fruition for half of the participants. For some, that means a spot on their club’s roster, for others; that means a trip home with nothing more than a hard camp’s work to show for it. And yet, there is unbridled enthusiasm radiating out of every one of the nine camps today.

A professional career in athletics is an undertaking under constant scrutiny. Like most things in life, it is a pursuit that needs to be met with fortuitous circumstances to even be afforded a shot at making it. Mix those lucky bounces with; unrivaled tenacity, an elite level of work ethic, natural talent, and a propensity to excel, and you just might have a shot at cracking this season’s opening day roster.

Still, with years (maybe decades) of training leading up to this week’s CFL training camp, many elite-level athletes will not see their names on any game-day rosters. Some may not get another opportunity to play football for a living. Why is training camp a time for excitement, then? Why do we celebrate a time where so many dreams come to untimely ends?

The answer of course, is competition. Just as crowds applauded fallen gladiators in the arenas of ancient Rome, so too should we acknowledge the formidable and worthy men that have earned their rights to compete in June. With undeniable certainty, some will not make it. The men that do, however, will have done more than earned a paycheque. They will have earned a position alongside peers that emerged from the very same crucibles as they. They will have earned the opportunity to compete at the highest level of sport, in the world’s best game. They will have earned a chance at legend.

Without competition, legends would never emerge.

So, here is a shout-out to all the men that are contributing to training camp competition right now. Regardless of where you find yourselves come July, know that you have undoubtedly made a mark on the century-long history that is Canadian Football.

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