In order to succeed in any sport, athleticism and competitive nature must exist in the heart and soul of the athlete.
The question that is brought up is which sport has the best athletes? The first sport that comes to my mind is American football. Football is a sport that requires the athlete to be in top physical condition, as there are several measures taken to remain in top shape for the regular season.
Most people erroneously think football players only play once a week, therefore they don't have it as bad as athletes in other sports. Take basketball and baseball, for example. Some people think the MLB and the NBA schedule games almost every day, and football players only play once a week, so it's easier for them. This thought process could not be more wrong.
Football players have to weight train for hours and hours during their practices throughout the week during the regular season and in the off-season. The training is rigorous, and the athletes have to endure mental and physical strain.
It's different at every position: corner backs and wide receivers have to run—it's their job to on the field. Quarterbacks have to learn plays, practice throwing and practice dancing around the pocket to avoid getting sacked. Defensive ends have to practice tackling and rushing the Quarterback.
I also believe weather comes into play when talking about football. Think about it: how cold was it during the NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers last January? Not to negate the MLB, NBA and NHL players, but they never have to perform under pressure in game-time weather of -1 degree, and even colder temperature with the Green Bay, Wisconsin wind chill. It takes a mentally strong athlete to compete in that bone-chilling temperature.
Another point to be made about football is that the sport entails basically every type of sport there is. It is a collision, contact and endurance sport wrapped into one game. The endurance comes in the form of hard running and weight training in practice. Collision and contact in the form of players tackling and taking each other out all for the sake of crossing the plain and scoring a touchdown.
One could make the argument that some football players are huge and not in good shape at all. For example, the center has to be big in order to protect the Quarterback. However, the bigger guys on the team also have to endure hard training to build up power, stamina, and reaction.
Football is certainly not the only sport that requires extensive training and good physical shape to succeed. Soccer is a sport in which the athletes have to be constantly running back and forth. The athletes need to have incredible stamina to maintain a career in soccer.
When I was in high school, I was part of the rowing team, or crew. Crew is another sport that the athlete needs a good amount of stamina built up to stay on their game. Crew is more endurance than anything else, but it still takes a strong person to keep a rowing career.
The question still remains: which sport has the best athletes? The answer: It's all in the eye of the beholder. I will tell you that american football requires extensive training, and the athlete has to be mentally as well as physically tough to keep moving on, and football players are the toughest athletes in the world.
Others might tell you that soccer, baseball, hockey, crew, or even pro wrestling are the sports with the best athletes. All these sports have incredible athletes, and they are all great in their own ways. Derek Jeter is the man when to comes to hitting a baseball. Sidney Crosby rules at hockey. Triple H is the best wrestler of his era.
The fact remains that all athletes in their respective sports are who they are in their own ways.