The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
Sep 182009
 

Interesting article on a new ethic developing in football:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/sports/ncaafootball/30tebow.html?_r=1

In constrast to the young man profiled in this story, I believe that Generation X (born 1961-1981) athletes have celebrated a me-first, winning-is-everything attitude over the tenure of their athletically active years.  And yes, it has pushed many into illegal performance-enhancing drugs.  How could it be otherwise?  We’ve been in a Third Turning (Unraveling) Every sports institutions, indeed the very economics of sports (even the Olympics, beginning with Ueberroth), have shifted in a way to encourage and reward this attitude.

Our work with sports companies confirms (for me, anyway), that some of the smartest minds in the sports industry are totally aware of what happened with Gen X and of today’s ongoing shift away from the Xer all-attitude focus.  I have had to watch reel after reel of sports ads, which amounted to an endless display of all of the brutal ways Xer athletes could say winners crush losers into the dirt.  It worked for for twenty years—the early 80s to the early 2000s.  But it’s not working any more.  The top execs at sports companies know it and are busy changing their tune.

Even the public persona of Lance Armstrong, for all of the excellence of the athlete himself, has a distinct Gen-X side to it.  The public’s interest is first and foremost of the individual drama: man faces metastasizing cancer and then becomes one of the most amazing athletes who has ever lived, all by dint of incredible personal determination… and luck.

I look forward with great interest to see where Millennial (born 1982-200?) take professional sports.

Hat tip to Reena Nadler for original article link.

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  • Angelo

    You have the Millennials already a large set, Reggie Bush,Eddie Gaven, Vince Young, Ben Rothelsbruger , Danica Patrick, Sarah Hughes and Micheal Phelps who showed great achievement orientation at last years olympics. But your right, maybe it's just the begining.