Stop Pressuring Athletes

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Brayden Griffin, Contributor

When thinking about professional athletes such as Mike Trout or LeBron James, the first thing that comes to mind is all of the great times they have won the game for their team and “came up clutch” (performed under pressure) when the team needed it. Fans crowd the stadiums and arenas almost every night to see their favorite athletes dominate the game. However, fans bring a lot of stress on the players during big key moments of the game. Fans put too much pressure on athletes.

Athletes carry immense pressure on their shoulders everywhere they go, especially before big games. Fans put too much pressure on athletes, and I am guilty of doing so myself. Athletes carry themselves at such a high level that when they make the fans upset, it’s more likely to stress them out. “There is a lot of pressure put on me … I feel like if I play my game, it will take care of itself,” Lebron James said. James is arguably one of the most “clutch” Basketball players of all time. For him to say he feels the pressure is a big deal because it shows that even the most famous and clutchest players still feel the pressure from fans.

Furthermore, Lebron James has a sports psychologist for when he is stressed or is under too much pressure. This psychologist goes by the name of Dr. Todd Kays.  Dr. Kays says that he can tell when Lebron is under too much stress. This could affect his performance on the court when put under too much pressure.

Winning championships for the fans and for the city is the athlete’s number one goal. Fans treat athletes like they aren’t human and they just live to play the sport, and where that is true to some degree I don’t believe their only purpose is to play a sport. 

Some people might believe that athletes who have to deal with the pressure should know that having to deal with the pressure and stress is just a part of the job. But even athletes have feelings and emotions just like us. When the Brain is under too much stress, it affects the synapse regulation, which makes the person less sociable and not very interactive. It can also cause some parts of the brain to shrink such as the prefrontal cortex, and it will affect decision making. This affects the athletes during games because their decision-making skills aren’t as keen as they could be.

The next time you watch a sporting event, listen to the audience at the game. You’ll at least see a couple of hecklers yelling at players about their shoes being untied just to get in their head. This is the kind of stress that gets players out of their element. 

Fans have gotten so bad to the point where players were even receiving death threats. Brandon Jacobs, a former running back for the New York Giants, got injured during a game, and post-injury he received a hateful tweet on social media.  This shows the extent of pressure that athletes have to deal with.

This hate towards athletes who make a mistake lives forever. Fans hold grudges against athletes. We need to learn that athletes aren’t robots and that sports can be competitive and friendly without being full of pressure.