“I just grew an overwhelmingly powerful love of wrestling, and it was all I could think about,” Snyder said. “I didn’t want to be out on the football field. I wanted to be getting better at wrestling. I think I have an addictive personality, and when I fall in love with something I keep thinking about it and thinking about it.”Sad that they took wrestling out of the Olympics... and it's also sad that a determined, competitive kid like this has absorbed a message from modern American culture that extraordinary concentration and dedication is a mental disorder.
“Wrestling is his calling,” said Snyder’s coach.... “He probably spends 80 to 90 percent of every waking hour thinking about wrestling.”
I think I have an addictive personality....
How did a 17-year-old American learn to talk about himself like that? Is it a disarming faux-modesty that he's developed so that other kids don't lose their self-esteem (like they could do as well if they were weird enough to spend all their time on one thing)? Or does he genuinely think of himself as deranged and analogous to a junkie? Shouldn't a successful high school athlete be regarded as someone to be emulated by other kids (and not a bizarre outlier to be observed for entertainment's sake but disregarded as any kind of example of how to live)?
Here's some discussion of what psychiatric experts consider to be the characteristics of an addictive personality:
- Impulsive behavior, difficulty in delaying gratification, an antisocial personality and a disposition toward sensation seeking.This isn't at all the same thing as exceptional dedication.
- A high value on nonconformity combined with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement valued by the society.
- A sense of social alienation and a general tolerance for deviance.
- A sense of heightened stress.
I'm not knocking Snyder. He's 17 and a great achiever. I'm knocking the culture that got a message through to his still-developing mind.