Win or lose, athletes still living the life we can only dream of

GROWING up, I always had a strong passion for sports and I had aspirations of becoming a professional athlete.

But that – as you can obviously tell by reading this – never materialised. I never even had the chance to represent for my school.

And I think my failure to excel in any sport has ingrained in me a deep appreciation of athletes and their amazing physical feats –and the strict discipline and incessant hardwork they put in everyday.

So it always irks me when some dumb down a sport when they don’t see the blood, sweat and tears shed because of the pain they have had to inflict upon their muscles and their bodies to perform at the highest possible level.

But anyway, that is something that can be talked about another time.

For me, my appreciation of athletes means I’m always looking for opportunities to attend any sporting event or catching it on TV.

And when I couldn’t be an athlete, the next best thing would be to see them live and have the chance to get up close with the athletes who made me want to become a sports journalist.

The Malaysia Games (Sukma) was a great opportunity for me to see as many sports as I could. But what I got from covering my first Sukma was the total opposite of what I expected.

Instead of leisurely watching and enjoying the sports and being able to “ooh” and “ahh” at the athletes, I constantly found myself rushing to meet deadlines .

And sometimes, I would anxiously be on the road trying to get to the sporting venues – at most three venues a day – on time to catch the athletes for their quotes and comments. And all this with the stressful thought of having to send the stories before the early deadline.

It has been a physically and mentally challenging experience that I will always remember – with some absorbing stories to share.

But most of all, congratulations to all the athletes who competed!

One of the founding members of the International Olympic Com­mittee (IOC) Pierre de Coubertin once said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.”

So win or lose, athletes, remember that you are still living the life that many of us can only dream of.