Meet Caroline. She is a 17 year old high school basketball player from Ohio who is a 5 star recruit. She is entering her senior season and has narrowed it down to her final two choices for where to go to school and now has a huge choice to make. She can either go to The University of Connecticut where she is essentially guaranteed 4 Final Four appearances, a hand full of national championships and some of the best coaching she will ever receive in the likes of Geno Auriemma. It seems like an easy choice right, the safe choice, the choice that will give Caroline the best opportunity to succeed. Now a comfortable athlete will choose UConn without even weighing out the final choice. Why should I even explain it to you because as women’s basketball is concerned, every team in the entire country takes a back seat to UConn and that will not change for a long time. See a comfortable athlete is always going to take the safe road out and choose the safest option because they are scared of taking any risks in their athletic career. Now let me just tell you about the second option that Caroline had. The other school that she was considering was Mississippi State University. The Bulldogs women’s basketball program is on the rise and has become one of the best young teams in America and are coached by a mastermind in Vic Schaefer. Now obviously they are on a second tier to UConn so if you want to win, why not chose the safe option, why not be a comfortable athlete. So Caroline chooses UConn and goes on to have a phenomenal freshman year and the Huskies entered the tournament with an undefeated record and a expectation to win another national championship. They make it to the Final Four and Caroline sees a familiar face. They are matched up with Mississippi State and again, are heavily favored. Then this happens……….
UConn had been defeated and Caroline’s season was over. Her decision to be a comfortable athlete had backfired and if she were not afraid to take a risk and not afraid to want to beat the best, she could have been playing for a national championship and be apart of one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.
Now am I saying you’re at fault for being a comfortable athlete? No, absolutely not. It’s smart. Good for you, you are playing it safe and will most likely be a winner. What I am saying is that if you are afraid to take a risk and are afraid to be a leader rather than a follower you will be labeled as a “comfortable athlete” and I think that is a big problem in sports today.
Now in professional sports it’s slightly different because money is now being involved and we all know money talks but there are still comfortable athletes out there. For example, Kevin Durant is the prime example of the comfortable athlete. After blowing a 3-1 lead in the playoffs to the Warriors when Durant was on the Thunder, he decided to join the team that beat them. He decided to go somewhere where he knew he would win because let’s face it, with him it’s the Warriors, Cavs and then everybody else. He went to a place that was safe, where he knew he could win after he lost. He could of went home to D.C with a young pair of guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal but it was not guaranteed that he would succeed and win a championship, he was not up to the challenge and rather took the comfortable choice. Now he is an NBA champion, but the question becomes did he do it the right way?