With all due respect to humble athletes everywhere, humility can actually be less common than egotism in the world of competitive sports. This actually makes sense when, at high levels, the difference between first and second place can be a fraction of a second, an inch, or a point. Sometimes athletes with identical skills and talent perform vastly differently based on that intangible quality often called “heart.” Have you ever heard “who wants it more?” at a sporting event? Athletes go in believing that they are better, that they will triumph. Walk-in songs at boxing and mixed martial-arts events aren’t self-deprecating. They feature themes of invincibility, toughness, and superiority. No one talked trash or built themselves up better than the “Greatest of All Time,” and the tradition of self-aggrandizing continues and will always be an integral part of many competitive athletes’ mindsets, of getting themselves pumped or psyched for their next event. So, how does this translate to the world of gambling? Well, gambling like an athlete means you think you can beat the odds, that you are better than the other players, better than the dealer; that you’ve got a system. You believe you can win by sheer force of will. This mindset has paid off, after all, in countless sporting events. The power of the mind is astounding. Visualization of performing, of winning, can and does translate into performing well in actual sporting events. But in gambling, no degree of visualization can change mathematical odds and the randomness of outcomes.
Published by Elizabeth Thielen
I'm a Problem and Compulsive Gambling Counselor and a former athlete. Always looking for opportunities to increase public awareness about problem gambling, I am particularly concerned about the potential impact of legalized sports wagering on athletes, a group already at increased risk for problem gambling. Though I am neutral on the subject of legal gambling, I advocate for those at risk to have access to education and other prevention tools, and for those already impacted by problem gambling to have access to treatment and support. View all posts by Elizabeth Thielen