The Cho must go on
Q: Is it wise when athletes pursue success at the expense of their educations? Simon Cho dropped out of high school to train as a short-track speed skater, and his father sold his business to pay the bills. The teenager ended up surprising everyone -- including himself -- by making the U.S. Olympic team. Is tunnel vision a good thing in pursuit of such a demanding goal? Are extreme sacrifices necessary, or foolish?
The big winners are most often the extreme sacrificers, it's true. But the wisdom of making huge sacrifices depends on the long-term value of the goal.
Selling your business to support your son's dreams makes a great 1970s TV movie (starring a horribly miscast Jodie Foster as spunky Korean boy), but in reality it can cause a lot of problems.
First, that's a lot of pressure for a teenager -- "Son, just do the best you can and don't worry that daddy sold the family's future so you can skate." Second, figure skaters make a lot of money (they have to pay for those sparkly outfits), but what are the chances that a speed skater is going to hit the big time? More than likely, 20 years from now Cho will be lucky to get the lead in "Avatar on Ice"!
We do have to make sacrifices to be successful; however, most people are not really into doing what it takes to be No. 1. When I hear people say someone dropped out of high school to show his commitment, I'm thinking: At what point did ditching school become proof that you're a winner?
The bottom line -- I just hope that Simon Cho has the same fire in his belly for success that his father clearly possesses.
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