Everyone knows that it is incredibly difficult to become a professional athlete. Even if you are among the elite 1% in your field, or in this case your sport, sometimes even that won't be enough to elevate you to the world's top leagues given just how fierce the competition for those positions truly is. We all know it's tough, but many of us don't realize just how tough it can be.
In a recent interview conducted in Slovak, Austrian forward Marko Dano revealed just how things are at times. Dano was asked about his time under the guidance of notorious National Hockey League head coach John Tortorella and although you might think he would have reasons to be bitter, Dano saw very little play with the Blue Jackets under Tortorella, Dano actually began by praising the head coach for his hard nosed style of coaching as well as his tendency to reward players who show high level effort on and off the ice.
"He's a fair guy. I can't say one wrong word to him," said Dano in the interview translated from Slovak. "However, we had the hardest training camp in the NHL. He does not look so much at the performances, but at the fact that the player goes to the bottom of his strength and does not give up. "
His biggest revelation however came when he discussed just how grueling an NHL training camp could be under John Tortorella, grueling enough to put professional athletes in the prime of their careers in the hospital as a result of probable heat stroke and exhaustion based on what Dano had to say.
"For example, we had to run 3.2 kilometers in twelve minutes. We did three, four guys out of fifty. We ran it in 30-degree heat on a black tartan that radiated heat. A couple of guys went straight to the hospital. In addition, we had difficult tests on ice within the time limit. It was challenging in that short time. "
For those of you on the imperial system that works out to roughly two miles in under 12 minutes in 86 degree heat. Easy to see why some players don't like playing for the fiery head coach, but no doubt the players who survive and earn his trust feel justly rewarded given how successful Torts has been in the NHL.