Sports Revelation

Athletes, Ids, Egos, and SuperEgos

Athletes get immediate gratification when they do something that’s never been done before. Athletes succeed when they don’t let others stop them. Athletes are suppose to do whatever they can, whatever is in their power, to reach their goals and ensure a victory. These all apply on the competitive playing field.

In the real world it is different. In the real world there are laws. In the real world these laws should apply to all. So, if a person wants something (or someone) and can’t have it, this person just can’t take, or do whatever he wants. It seems some athletes have a hard time with this concept. These athletes, seem to have a difficult time turning this filter on and off, depending if they are on the field of competion or if they are in the competive world.

Freud explains, individuals make their choices and decisions based on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality, which includes the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo. The Id seeks immediate gradification, and follows the Pleasure Principle. It’s like a child thirstfully trying to fulfill basic wants and needs (like thirst, hunger, and sex). The Id is important to us as a newborn, but if left uncontrolled will lead to disrupted actions that are unaccepted in society. The Ego works to delay the immediate satisfaction, and helps to weigh the benefits from acting upon impulses. The Superego is essentially our sense of Right and Wrong based on, according to Freud, our parents and society. The Superego works against all impulses from the Id.


Actions have consequences. However, if these consequences do not out weigh the pleasure and gratification of the action the Id will continue to grow stronger, and the Superego will continue to have a hard time controlling the Id. Maybe Freud, and his psychoanalytic theory of personality, was onto something. Maybe athletes have overly powerful Ids, and the Superego can not suppress the desire for immediate satisfaction? No, I’m not making excuses for these Masters of poor choices.

Using NFL players as an example of individuals with overly powerful Ids is just too easy.

Take Josh Gordon and his reoccurring run-in’s with the law. Huge Id! He’s banned from the NFL for a season (okay just 10 games, way to dole out consequences NFL), but continues to blame the NFL, or anything other than himself  for his actions.

We can look at Mr. Olympian-Gold-Medal King himself, Michael Phelps. Despite a magnificent Olympic and professional swimming career, he has been involved in a few tangles with the law. Recenty, he got nabbed with his 2nd DUI. Not to mention that whole bong picture incident.

Again, I’m not making excuses for athletes who make poor choices, and then make them again. I think Frued and his concept of the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo, is one way to look at individuals repetitively making poor choices. I also want to make clear, I do not think all athletes have super-inflated Ids (See Athlete You Would Let Your Daughter Date).  I do believe athletes need to learn the difference between imposing their will during competition on the field (which is good), and imposing their will in life off the field (which is bad).

Enjoy Sports Responsibly

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