What is pressure?

At a recent press conference in London the coach of the US Women’s Basketball team, Geno Auriemma, said: “Real pressure is when you lose your job and have to pay the mortgage, or if you are a single mum wondering if you can afford to pay your kid’s education”. That is the most sensible comment I have heard during the Olympics and gives some perspective to where sport sits (even the Olympics) in the greater scheme of things.

Watching Emily Seebohm in tears explaining how she has embarrased her parents was tough. Not wanting to put words into her parents mouth but I’m sure the only real ‘expectation’ they have of her is that she is healthy and happy, it is clear that the Olympic experience has made her anything but.

I am not an elite athlete and do not for a second profess to understand what it is like to compete at that level. What I do know is that Olympic Glory (or failure) should not define a person. At the end of the day it is their family and friends that will define them and their actions in life. I’m sure 99.9% of parents would rather a son/daughter that is kind, respects others and loves their family over someone who wins a Gold medal but is a prick.

Having worked at an AFL CLub and with an Olympic Sport I’ve met some fantastic, well adjusted quality athletes; I’ve also met my share of arrogant, self centred arseholes. That’s life.

We all get caught up in sport from time to time and I’ve been guilty more so than most about the ‘importance’ of the Swans’ fortunes.

I would like to think with age comes wisdom, I’ve been lucky enough to become a father recently and that has shown me the way. My son, my wife, earning a crust to keep a roof over our heads and being a good person is what really matters. It has taken me until 35 to learn this valuable lesson.

I will still probably swear and curse when LRT kicks one out on the full or when I miss a three footer to break 90 but the disappointment will be temporary.

I hope that one day young Emily will understand it is OKto win the silver and that the bigger test will be how she turns out as a daughter, mother and friend in the game of life.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. I couldn’t agree more Craig. While I’m sure that Emily Seebohm, in the cold light of day and away from the heat of having just finished fierce competition would be a little more circumspect, it’s just sport after all.

    I’m reminded of the great Jose Luis Chilavert, former Paraguayan goalkeeper who said something similar at the Wold Cup in 1998: “Pressure? This is just a football match. When you do not know how to feed your children, that is pressure”

  2. Stainless says

    Well put Craig.

    The great Keith Miller famously said when asked by Michael Parkinson, about pressure on the cricket field, “pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not”.

  3. Mark Doyle says

    This reminds me of Keith Miller’s famous quote when questioned about pressure on the cricket field. He responded that real pressure was as an RAF bomber pilot flying over Germany with a messaschmit up his arse.

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