Under Armour recently came out with their “Alter Ego” line of shirts. The idea behind the line is that everyone has a bit of super hero in them. I definitely agree with this idea. The things I have seen people do when they need to is truly amazing. The more I thought about this, the more I thought about ego in general and its role with athletes.
All of the great athletes I have known have egos. I am not saying this in a bad way. In order for athletes to be successful, they need to have a great deal of self confidence and swagger. They need to believe that they can break down walls and run through land mines. Athletes need to think the impossible is possible and the only way that is possible is with ego. It’s simply the unshakable confidence that you can achieve anything.
Egos don’t need to be exhibited by self promoting actions or half the anecdotes that you hear on SportsCenter each night. No situps in your driveway with an ESPN is not ego, that is called being a clown. If you carefully watch the way an athlete walks or their body language, you can see whose ego is flourishing and whose is on the decline. There are some who can fake this body language on occasion, but you will see over time that you can not fake having an ego for a long period.
Another consideration with ego is how fragile it is with athletes. An athlete’s self confidence can be shattered by one bad practice or a weird injury. This fragility is something that can be outstanding when logic and reason is factored into the equation. Ego is a funny thing, you can’t fake it, you need to have it, and it can disappear in second if you aren’t strong enough.