Every once in a while, I get to thinking that there’s some kind of “Sarah Robles Standard.” This is a standard by which I seem to be held and most times, no one else. I spoke with an old coach of mine the other day and asked him about this. The answer was phrased like this: “People with exceedingly great talent have exceedingly great standards placed on them.”
I can remember a few instances where I felt I was treated differently from everyone else. Like my standard was higher. Once I was late for practice and I was supposed to run stadiums as a punishment and other athletes that have been late to practice…nothing. Once, I was out of clean clothes and it was cold outside so I opted to wear pajama pants. I figured that was my best option at the time. Well, I was told, “Don’t you ever wear those again. If you do, you’re not allowed in the gym for two weeks.” Or after I’m done training, I’d switch into my flip flops, “Sarah, you’re setting a bad example for the kids.”
From my end, I saw and sometimes see this treatment as unfair. I can remember not being able to negotiate having one Saturday off a month or go home for different things. Another athlete might randomly take a ski trip or go to Disneyland without so much as a phone call to tell our coach otherwise. Those are just a few examples. One of my counter-arguments would be, “If you treated everyone else the same way you did me, imagine how good of lifters they would be.”
I understand that not all lifters have the same goals, or abilities that I and other elite athletes have but, when you have some kind of goal and you are committing to something, why not give it your 100%? Whatever that may be. I’m not even sure if some athlete could handle the expectations on them that are put on me. “How many people can talk about going to the Olympics or breaking the American Records as nonchalant as you?” This is true. It was explained to me, that why beat someone up over messing up when they are barely going to make it to Competition X or have no realistic chance of breaking records?
When someone has a lot of talent or potential, it is the coach’s responsibility (as is the athlete’s) to make sure that comes into fruition. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be explained but I am a pretty goofy person. I am also pretty talkative and social. As weightlifting is my main social outlet, it is definitely difficult for me at times to reign all that in. If I didn’t have those standards and expectations, I would probably get off task in training. I realize too, that as an adult, and as an Olympian, it is my responsibility to set an example to younger kids or beginners on how to properly behave and do the right things to create success. I have never been one to party or drink or get into trouble much. There are times I can get rebellious or ornery. That mostly comes from feeling bossed around. Am I 100% perfect when it comes to discipline, timeliness, or other necessary traits? No. That’s why I need a coach. That’s why I need standards and expectations. Is it “fair” all the time? No. It is true, though what has been explained to me:
People with big goals and big talents, will have big standards placed on them. People will remember what you say and do. The energy of those around you will reflect your own. People have expectations on you both when you compete and when you are “off the clock.” We may not like it and it may or may not be “fair” but, it’s part of the game. It’s something you learn along the way. If it were explained ahead of time, it might deter people from going for it or they wouldn’t be able to comprehend it anyway. I still stand by my counter-argument. If you held yourself to the “Sarah Robles Standard” when doing things, I’m sure you’d get good results. A little discipline, sacrifice, and high expectations never hurt anyone.
Lift lots, Sarah