The answer today is 8-8-08, the day the Olympics begin in Beijing, China.
Swimmer Jessica Hardy apparently will not be on the US Team as it makes its way to training in Singapore prior to its final stop at the Olympic Village. Hardy has tested positive for Clenbuterol. News stories are running rampant from the main stream media as well as the swimming related sites. Swimming World Magazine broke the story earlier this week.
Time will tell if Hardy, as she is claiming, is innocent. And we prefer to leave that part of the discussion to others. Our interest in this story goes down a slightly different path.
At what price is glory justified? We have no pat answer but we think about it constantly. As coaches we are always asking athletes to think hard about the choices they make. How do they use their time; what activities support their dreams; are they making the best possible decisions on a daily basis?
Some times our society puts such an emphasis on winning that the pressures on athletes become enormous. We wonder about the costs.
The great football (soccer) manager Bill Shankly had a quote for the ages that rushed to mind when the Hardy story broke.
'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death.
I'm very disappointed with that attitude.
I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'