Why We Love Sport – The Jason Morgan Story

Within the sporting spectrum an individual would come across dozens and dozens of different athletes that epitomise pure passion for sport. As the summer of 2014 rolls on we, as a whole, have had the pleasure of multiple events to tickle our fancy. Since the Giro d’Italia in May right down to the Open championship in Liverpool, England last weekend.

If it were not for the stars of football, tennis, golf, cycling, formula 1, snooker, where else would we look?  Well next week we have another instalment to the plethora of sporting excellence with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to dive into.

Another fanfare is about to dominate the airwaves of the BBC and world’s media for experts and amateurs alike. Who will give their two cents on the proceedings as they begin to unfold? Even self-righteous overnight experts who suddenly think they are the be all and end all in the triple-jump, when before it wasn’t even an afterthought.

In terms of athletics, the most famous son of all, Usain Bolt, is about to light up fans across the globe again with his undoubted wit and charm; he will only compete in the 4 x 100m relay event not the 100m or 200m, which is a shame but a certain feather in the cap for the organisers in Glasgow. But when we look at the list of countries competing, a lot of these athletes are there just for the pure love of sport. Semi-pros, professionals, teachers, hairdressers, lawyers, you name it. Come next week a whole bunch of representatives from the likes of Antigua & Barbuda down to Zambia – all about to wear the colours for each respective nation and with the utmost pride.

Considering its lack of allure compared to a major Olympic event, we will still see a few familiar faces, like Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, and Bradley Wiggins. The likes of these athletes will be giving us another view of expertise, or other non-house hold names giving each avid sports fan a new vantage point into a sport that previously would have gained barely a glance. But the dedication of some of the lesser named athlete’s gives others hope that perseverance does pay off and the outsider looking in a new found admiration for these individuals and their chosen sport.

In terms of track and field when we think of a nation, almost all would instantly think of the Jamaican national team. Again Usain Bolt comes to mind, Yohan Blake; who elected to skip the trip to Scotland, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, etc. But another attendee for Jamaica epitomises the true meaning of what kind of dedication it takes to take part in the sport you love.

When we think of the discus event we will instantly struggle to rattle off names. The Jamaicans have one particular athlete though who will take part in Glasgow, a certain discus thrower by the name of Jason ‘Dadz’ Morgan. Currently based in Ruston, Louisiana, this athlete was a young up-and-coming discus thrower who decided to move to the USA to further his discus career.

After all in terms of track and field and funding, back home in native Jamaica, the sprint discipline takes pride of place as the nation’s favourite sport and pastime and Kingston is the centre of excellence for the world’s best.

The discus is a drop in the ocean in comparison and it was inevitable that he had to move abroad to further his career. During high school he was involved in the high jump and the sprint event but decided to change discipline in 2000. It was decision that would see him battle on through setbacks and upheavals to try and be the best. But a sort of Cinderella story in some way mainly due to his own guts and determination. His talent was quickly realised and he was offered a scholarship to the Central Arizona College in 2002, and he subsequently moved on to Louisiana Tech University and graduated in 2007.

Finally he had his opportunity to grow as an athlete. Being a part of an institution where the best facilities were on offer to develop as an athlete, the realisation soon became apparent that he must go alone after graduation. His chosen craft does not pay for itself and unless you become a household name this long strenuous journey becomes even harder.

Morgan missed the 2008 Olympic Games in London, due a document mishap, which meant he could not travel. This must have come as a huge blow to him considering the biggest stage to test your wits was gone as the carpet was suddenly ripped from under him. To further compound matters the almost unthinkable happened again before the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Talk about bad luck.

In any case he kept his chin up and soldiered on as unfortunate setbacks like these would have taken its toll on plenty of aspiring athletes and would have sen others simply calling it quits. However, the love of his chosen craft took precedent over anything else.

“It’s all good, and I’m past that.”

This was a show of defiance and an inspiration to all. To further compound matters up to 2013 he went seven years without a coach as he tried to hold down a job helping young kids. This is a truly remarkable example of an athlete trying to make a living and still putting in the hours of training all on his own.

He was self-training after college as he did not have the financial resources in place to reach the next level.

“I would ask strangers exercising in the area to record me with my phone. Then I would go home, study the day’s videos, come back the next day and try to correct my technique.”

Working with young kids he must have used this snippet of his life on more than one occasion as it is a true piece of what it takes to be an athlete. The dedication is an inspiration to all those hundreds of thousands of other athletes the world over.

Morgan’s story is a joy to behold but no matter what age, race, colour or creed you are any individual from any walk of life will always admire the underdog and sport will forever continue to unite all.

It’s easy to sit back and watch the glitz and glamour of the big guns but when we shout for the underdogs at any event,just remember that the truly dedicated folk are the reasons why we pick up a snooker cue, sit on a bike, or kick a football.

Millions of people the world over have an abundance of sports to choose from and it is the grafters, whether it’s Usain Bolt or Jason Morgan, that help shape the future of any sporting man or women.

Liam Cairns, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.