Witness the recent hosting by the University of Waikato of the Female Athlete Health Symposium at the Avantidrome in Cambridge. Present were doctors, professors, psychologists, exercise scientists and nutritionists to spread the good word of, well, saving the body for the glories of athletic heaven. These new theologians were not discussing how many angels could dance on head of a pin, but how many medals a girl might pin on her virtuous logo-laden tracksuit.
Cups, gold medals and shiny ribbons have become the holy grails to garnish the glorious mantelpieces of the righteous saints of rugby, rowing, cycling, et el. However, before that's achieved, the dark night of body and soul must be endured in the gym, on the water, on the paddock, in the nets, etc. But all neophytes can be of good cheer because a team of worthy priests, pastors and preachers will dutifully hover, omnipresent, to guide and minister with stopwatches, massages, liniments and readings from the sacred text of good headspace and right nutrition to encourage the fearful and the unbelieving.
It's an arduous task, as every pilgrim knows, but at the end of days, after purification through struggle, the coach will be there to wipe away all sweat and tears from the eyes. And the blameless ones will gather at the river and become possessed of the promised land, while the losers will be cast into the fiery lake of disappointment and defeat. And the rest of us watching will cry out with a loud voice and pronounce, amen.