This article is creating quite a stir within the swimming community. First-time Olympian Tyler Clary is calling out multiple medal winner Michael Phelps basically for being lazy! What gets me is that most sport fans are not accepting of Clary's comments because he has yet to win an Olympic medal. It's like, until he does win one, he doesn't have the right or standing to voice an opinion!
“Basically, he was a swimmer that didn’t want to be there,” Clary said of Phelps. “They can talk about all of these goals and plans and preparation they have. I saw it. I know. It’s different. And I saw somebody that has basically been asking to get beat for the longest time.”
It does sound odd. A first-time Olympian is calling out America’s King of the Pool — winner of multiple world and domestic Swimmer of the Year honors and 66 medals, 54 of them gold, in major international competitions — for shoddy work ethic.
Yet it makes a strange sort of sense, especially in light of recent comments by Phelps himself.
~ from Clary calls out Phelps, the King of the Pool by Jim Alexander ~
Clary has made an observation that I'm confident we have each said about a talented friend, colleague or family member. There are scads of people in this world who are able to win plaudits and accolades on sheer talent alone. While others must bust their butts to achieve near the same ends, the very talented often can arrive at the same destination with a minimal amount of effort.
Since I don't when, writing has come very easily to me. In grade school, while my classmates struggled to write one-page papers, I could whip them out left and right without breaking a sweat. By the time I completed high school, I had received numerous awards and much praise for my writing talents.
So, I headed off to college to earn a journalism degree with a big head. I was ready to dazzle my professors with my amazing abilities.
For my very first writing assignment in a class on feature writing, I whipped out a witty 3-page article that I KNEW would blow my professor -- one Dr. William D. Downs -- clean out of the water. While my classmates fretted through draft after draft, I was one and done. Upon handing in my column -- a certain A+, in my mind -- I thought to myself, "College is going to be a breeze!"
You can imagine my horror when, upon receiving my paper back, there were red marks all over it! There was a note at the the top which indicated that the final grade for the paper was being withheld until I turned in another draft or two.
Another draft or two? The great Trey Smith doesn't write d-r-a-f-t-s, I screamed. I write masterpieces! Who does this Downs fellow think he is?
In the end, I did receive an A for my work, but -- and this is a big but -- Dr. Downs compelled me to write four more drafts before he was satisfied. I had never worked that hard in my life on one stinking 3-page paper!
At one point in the process, I went to see Dr. Downs to find out, in my mind, what HIS problem was. He told me that it was readily apparent that I was a talented writer, but with great talent comes great responsibility. The talented individual should work just as hard, if not harder, than the individual with less talent. If not, then the talent is squandered.
To be frank, it took me a good while to climb down off of my high horse, but Dr. Downs became a mentor to me. In time, I came to understand his great wisdom. I realized that through sheer talent alone I was a better than average writer, but through work and dogged determination, I could be far better still.
In his own way, Dr. Downs taught me the lesson of the Taoist sages. Inner discipline and mastery of skill is one component on the road to virtue.