The shot misses (if you can even make it), your excruciatingly hard work comes to nothing, and you end up going home empty-handed. Target panic is so deeply dreaded that it's become the "Macbeth" of the target sport world. You don't talk about it. You don't think about it on the playing field. You do your best to pretend it doesn't exist. And your coach is sworn to secrecy if it happens to you. And make no mistake: It probably will. Some 90 percent of target-sport athletes experience target panic at least once, and many find themselves unable to try again for the rest of their lives.
While this may sound like a textbook psychological breakdown, recent studies suggest that it is in fact a neurological disorder brought on by extreme repetitive motion -- meaning you can't ward it away with positive thoughts. So if you happen to be an archer and had never heard about this before, hey, you're welcome.
A Terrible Retirement Awaits You
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One day, you wake up, the games are over, and -- unless you want to go through all of this again despite your doctor's sobbing, hysterical pleas -- retirement is calling. It's time to kick back and live out the rest of your days in well-earned ease, basking in the gratitude of your nation.
Well, good luck with that.
Let's say there's a reason this search turns up over 2,000 results.
Like Batman before you, you've been informed that you've got no cartilage remaining in your joints and you'll spend the rest of your days hobbling from physical therapy to your life counselor's office and back. You're still a chiseled, gleaming superhero in a sea of ordinary slobs, but unless you've got Bruce Wayne's trust fund (and robot leg braces) to carry you gently into the night, you're in for a singularly shitty time.
"Athletes die twice" is an adage among experts for a reason. By all accounts, it's incredibly hard to go from a life as a superhuman to life as ... well, us. Leaving aside the psychological Jenga tower of suddenly and completely altering the way you've lived your life, simply getting a decent job is a hero's trial. There are only a limited number of career paths that accomplished athletes can walk into, because they've spent the last several years speed-skating into glorious immortality for their countries, not expanding their education or job market experience. Only a few end up rich and/or talking nonsense on TV -- the rest are thrown into new careers for which they'll probably have little to no qualifications.
Teo Lannie / GettyImages
"How about instead of filling that monthly report, I throw some javelins real far? No? Are you sure?"
To combat this, the U.S. Olympic Committee offers transition assistance programs for wayward athletes. Those who have retired usually feel that it was all worth it, but it behooves us all to remember that the guy or gal on our Wheaties box is probably going to end up struggling to make ends meet in only a few short years. Enjoy the show, everyone!
When they aren't rocking your world with bad puns and harsh truths, Marina and Adam can be found on Twitter.
What's The Best Fictional School To Attend? In the muggle world, we're not given the opportunity for a magical hat to tell us which school we should go to. Usually we just have to go to the high school closest to where we live or whatever college accepts our SAT scores and personal essay. This month, our goal is to determine what would be the best fictional school to go to. Join Jack, Daniel, and the rest of the Cracked staff, along with comedians Brandie Posey and Steven Wilber, as they figure out if it's a realistic school like Degrassi or West Beverly High, or an institution from a fantasy world like Hogwarts with its ghosts and dementors, or Bayside High, haunted by a monster known only to humans as Screech. Get your tickets here!
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