The value of sacrifice

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Everything immediately. Nowadays society is based on this rule, daughter of 80’s hedonism, when the sense of sacrifice that had rebuilt the world after the pain of the World War was forgotten. To this concept we currently add also relativism; so not merely the pursuit of pleasure anymore, but that of “my” pleasure, by taking the shortest path.

It is applied to everything: job, private life, social relationships. They do not ask anymore, they demand. Someone may object: for too long exploitation has been at the basis of the power relationships between employers and employees. This is true, but at present crowds of young men take job positions as if everything were granted; they do not have experience nor a résumé to exhibit. Above all, they do not want to learn, and even less to wait. They demand positions.

Yet, it is from constant sacrifice, commitment, and effort that come out the best things. There are no example of this kind anymore: television often extols lack of preparation, not to mention politics.

Luckily, we still have sports where meritocracy is inherent to the practice’s DNA and where training, sacrifice, and suffering are the only fuel that allows to get to the end of the race. So, it is important today to think about those clean, joyful, and winning faces that arrive after hours of hard training, sweat, and effort. “Everything immediately” does not work in this field. Federica Pellegrini who has gotten onto the podium for the seventh time, is an example: beautiful, rich, famous, and winning. But how much work there is behind…Or Tania Cagnotto who won the gold during the last world championship, after years of successes, but also of second places. Or else, Valentina Vezzali, about whom nobody ever talks until the day she “regularly” triumphs on the podium. Going slightly backwards in time, are worth mentioning Mennea’s gnashing teeth, Abbagnales’ muscles, Niccolo Campriani’s “unknown” gold medals in shooting, Carlo Molfetta’s in Taekwondo, and Daniele Molmenti’s and his canoe.

The so-called poor sports, not constantly in the public eye. One more lesson for our young people. In order to get onto the first pages of the newspapers, one has to do something extraordinary; it is too far too easy to become protagonists riding someone’s coattails, because spotlights are on the green grass of a field where one exists merely because (s)he is stepping on it. Life, the real one, is not like that. It resembles more a pool race: you are alone, not competing with anyone, but swimming for yourself. You do not need much chatter, nor star posing, but heart and brain. Two things that globalization is taking away from us, without us even noticing it.

Translated by Ecaterina Severin

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