We’ve all heard the saying, “Ill sleep when I die.” If you haven’t heard it, then consider yourself lucky and a step ahead of the rest. For those who go by this saying, realize that the deepest sleep you will ever have will come sooner than you think if you continue this line of thought.
With the holidays at full commencement, I’m sure Americans are feeling the drag of family visits and abnormal routines, especially this Thanksgiving weekend. And if you are like me, the weekend went faster than normal and the hope to catch up on sleep was impossible. Also, if you’re like me, your body is screaming fatigue and yearning for sleep. Should you choose to listen or not will determine how your following week, days and even hours turn out.
The perception of getting sleep to catch a dream or two is lazy or unproductive, because as we all have been told, time is money. But when you think clearly about it, what money is to be gained if your brain is functioning only at half capacity? Continue to deprive your body of sleep and your body will find a way to turn itself on you; ask anyone with a severe condition.
During medical treatments for my brain condition, I refused to take any sort of medication because of the potential side effects that could occur (also because I couldn’t afford the prescriptions and I wanted to keep running). What use is enjoying life if you’re in constant state of hallucinations and body malfunctions. Majority of us are constantly in that state when we choose to not make sleep a priority.
We’ve all heard how inadequate sleep can put you at risk for high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, etc. But we also know that a few slices of that Thanksgiving pie can do the same, or even a few shots of that favorite drink. So, we just slide it into the category of Things that Take all the Fun out of Life.
Instead, perception needs to be changed and sleep needs to be the new dessert. I feel selfish in everything I do already, especially when running is too fun to be considered a real job. However, I feel even worse when I am cranky and everyone I meet takes the grunt. I feel horrible when a huge decision is to be made only to later learn the wrong decision was made. I even feel guilty when I can’t tell a beautiful woman she is the “girl of my dreams” if I haven’t been sleeping enough to even conjure up such a dream.
Through harsh training days and even worse post-chemo evenings, I’ve learn to listen to the heart (physically) and sought to make sleep a priority and not a secondary hassle. Just as eating is necessary, so is sleep. Let’s go back to the days as kids where naps were hated, but the moment after a deep nap, we gained the energy of 12 Power Rangers and nothing could stop us. Whether it is finding better nutrition to aid in quality sleep, or enduring cognitive behavioral treatment to even get us to sleep, the investment of sleep will eventually pay its dividends. Let’s go back to the days when success was forecasted through dreams and life was all about making those dreams reality.
I am being called to either retract my statements in my previous letter or to place an “apology” for the defamation of a particular character. Unfortunately, that is not what I will do because that doesn’t solve the issue. Instead, it establishes a false authority and an unfavorable type of leadership. From my previous statement, I am looking for successful leadership. And, from the response of almost every reader/citizen out there, that is what we all are looking for. Why should we settle for less?
The purpose was to create a conversation of change. It is evidently apparent to any aware Samoan that the management of sports is not great. The Samoan Rugby Union just declared bankruptcy, our first Olympic Medalist was met with a subpar celebration, and the lack of success in our sports is met with a shrugged shoulder. I will state that the claims of my previous letter were stories shared by other athletes, so the validity could be questioned. But the uproar of agreement by a variety of Samoan citizens proves a presence of truth.
For some reason, athletes from other sports felt the need to share their struggles to someone who looks more American or Fijian than Samoan. The key was that they didn’t buy into WHAT I do (run somewhat faster than majority) but they saw WHY I do it, and that’s when they saw the most Samoan part of me, my heart.
The goal of business is to sell a belief. People don’t necessarily buy into WHAT you do, but instead WHY you do it. If the business doesn’t know the “why” behind their operation, how is trust and loyalty developed among employees?
As previously stated, as an athlete I am an international ambassador of this country. My job is to promote Samoa in a way to bring success. A non-profit organization is in the works in the United States so that funding can be provided back to Samoa so that citizens won’t have to spare their hard earned money. But if the previous money provided by the people were mismanaged, how can donors expect their money will be spent otherwise.
Maybe (keyword: maybe) money may not have been spent on bar tabs or filtered to pockets, but the evidence is clear when our sports are constantly asking for more money from the government. A reader of the Samoan Observer recently stated that the change in leadership must happen. A leader, who is willing to sacrifice their time without funding, is a good step.
Athletics President Jerry Brunt is among those, who spent time and own resources to a sport he is new to. The weightlifting organization is very much dedicated to their athletes, and the success is proof. SASNOC Secretary General Tala Pauga shows great management in basketball as separate chapters internationally were developed so that local players are able to travel to more games. The Athletics staff members are influential figures to every athlete on the team, or rather family. They, including several others, give their limited time away from being business entrepreneurs to their athletes they love.
Fearing our leaders only weakens the organization and the trust/cooperation among the members. Such hate for our leaders are created because the people are being sacrificed first. True leaders set the tone and sacrifice themselves first. Then the people follow to combine the talents to create a solid front against any outside threat.
You can dismiss me from ever representing Samoa ever again, but you can’t dismiss the fact that the “business” is failing its loyal employees and customers. To the people of Samoa, I apologize for not representing you well earlier in my career. But through my talents and knowledge, I will work to bring success. We will soon see if I am to ever wear the Samoan colors ever again, as a decision will be made in the upcoming weeks as to how I handled the stories told to me by other loyal and committed athletes. To be continued…
Jeremy Dodson is an Olympic Track & Field sprinter with a Master's in Business Administration, and Bachelor's in Sociology, Economics, and Neurophysiology.