The Marino Syndrome

Before I start this post I need to put out a couple of disclaimers. First off, I know this will come off sounding wrong in few instances, but bare with me, and two, I truly believe that Dan Marino was the best quarterback to play in the NFL from 1980 forward. That being said, let’s move on …
 
It’s not about winning.
 
I have been told this over and over again since starting triathlons. I harbor no thoughts of ever winning an age group race, let alone an overall win, but is it wrong of me to want to feel that just once? And I am not talking about finishing 5th in Clydesdales because there were only 5 in the group. I am talking about finishing on the podium in the top 5 because you beat a goodly number of people (like the “old English” word there?). I have seen others finish up there, holding their finisher plaque, and knowing they earned it by actually beating people. I would like that feeling just one time.
 
In all of my races I get passed more than I pass, so I have grown used to it. I actually started counting them in Augusta and had to stop because it was depressing. So I started counting people I passed. Not that many, but I did pass a few in the last 5 miles, a few of which passed me earlier (I never forget an ass). I do pretty well on the short courses though, and have come very close to a top 5 there (highest was #6) but my group, Clydesdales, which is meant for us “heavier guys” (for my feeling on THAT term see one of my first posts HERE), can get some pretty good athletes in them. The bothersome thing about my grouping is that, while it is meant for us weight challenged athletes, more often than not it is used by age groupers who are very tall and very muscular but fit into the weight limits as a way of “placing”. This season USAT has changed the weight from 200+ to 220+. Hopefully this will weed some of these people out of the group and give the rest of us a chance. I have already noticed a change in the listing at St. Anthony’s. Last year there were over 50 men in the Clydesdale group. This season, as of today, there are 32. Big change eh?
 
So I look at this as a “Marino Syndrome”. I know some here are not followers of the NFL (all three of

you) but let me explain. Dan Marino played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 seasons. He came in as a rookie during the 1983 season, and in 1984 had broken most franchise records and a few NFL records for passing, yards, TD’s, etc. In his second year he led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl, only to be beaten by the Joe Montana led 49ers. Afterwards they asked him about how he felt. His statement was along the lines of “it’s only my second season. I will have other opportunities.”

 
Marino never went to another Super Bowl.
 
He played in MANY playoff games. Went on to be come the most prolific passers the game has ever seen, but always fell short of the Championship. He retired after getting beat by the Jaguars 62-7.
 
The question that always comes up when watching retrospectives on the greatest quarterbacks of all times that, while he was a great QB and a great passer, he never won a championship. A lot of things attributed to that. A lack of defense on Miami. No running back. The fact that he played during an era that had Joe Montana, John Elway, and Jim Kelly. But the burden of no rings always falls at his feet. Does the fact that he never won diminish his standing?
 
In many eyes it does.
 
So will the fact that I may never stand on the podium as a triathlete diminish my attempts or ability?
 
I know this is something I should not concern myself with, but it does play in my head from time to time. I know my coach is going to crawl all over me for even thinking like this, but it does occupy my thoughts at times. It is very frustrating to train train train, feel you have it down, then get out to a race and watch person after person pass you. Especially those that you have been around while training and you know you have out worked them. Does this make me a bad person, that I feel envious?
 
Maybe … but I guess I just need to keep plugging away … and maybe at some point the results will match the effort.
 
And maybe not … and will that alter the way I look back at this time in my life when I can no longer do it at all?
 
I think too much!
 
As another side note, back to the Dolphins, this season they are changing their “brand” with new uniforms and a new logo. The logo is to the left. Those of you that are football fans, what do you think of this change?

3 thoughts on “The Marino Syndrome

  • April 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm
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    Like many things in life, there is no right/wrong, black/white answer to that. 99% of people who participate in things like Marathons and Triathlons know coming in that they will never step on the podium. That's the domain of the elite athletes. The rest of us participate against ourselves. We do it to improve our personal times, at our level. Which is far away from the elite level. The question is I guess: Do you want to stand on the podium? Do you want to become an elite? And by that I mean, do you want to compete against others instead of yourself? Because that is really the difference.

  • April 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    Permalink

    Like many things in life, there is no right/wrong, black/white answer to that. 99% of people who participate in things like Marathons and Triathlons know coming in that they will never step on the podium. That's the domain of the elite athletes. The rest of us participate against ourselves. We do it to improve our personal times, at our level. Which is far away from the elite level. The question is I guess: Do you want to stand on the podium? Do you want to become an elite? And by that I mean, do you want to compete against others instead of yourself? Because that is really the difference.

  • April 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm
    Permalink

    Most importantly…do NOT like the new logo nor does my local Dolphins fan. He said it looks like a cruise ship emblem.

    That being said, onto you…since society has created us over the past 50 years into the “winners” being identified by trophy/podium stands/big bucks/MVP/etc and not by “personal best” or a measurement against our own “personal odds” you will never escape that need for acknowledgement by picturing youself on the podium unless you make a conscious effort to just give it up. If you reach that pinnacle, will you be any different? Probably not. Your mental image of yourself will still be the one you battle each day as you push to and beyond your limits physically and mentally. You will still define yourself by what you see in the mirror every day – internal and external flaws visible only to you, because it's an intrinsic part of your temperment to be hard on yourself and to never reach your own lofty expectations. You may never be a podium stander and that needs to be ok. Because when you depart this world (and we all do) will someone stand up and say “he got to stand on the podium” or will they say, “great friend, good dad, he inspired me, he pushed me to reach my own goal, he cared, he made a difference” Maybe this is the time you take to reflect on what will define you for the rest of your life and what will be your legacy to YOU. A life well lived for a long time or a brief, shining moment on a podium and the risk no one will remember you afterward. Maybe that is what brings Dan Marino peace…he may not have won the “big one” due to the odds surrounding him, but at his final moment, those who know him will be able to say he was ethical, a great dad, his charities made a difference for autism, and he lived his life for those who matter most to him. Even now people still call him the greatest, yet, many of those “I am going to Disney World” champions have been arrested, taken a life through stupidity, and we can't remember their names unless we look it up. Like your personal hero Dan, in this “game” of life you can define YOU by the legacy of what is left behind for the long term and not the Super Bowl moments. From someone you helped make a difference for…more than once.

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