Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 48 - Christian Posch - HEALTH HUMANITY & HANDBALL - Part 2 of 3


Yeah. So, I think this kind of begs the question, and this isn’t your area of specialty, but I think it begs the question, should we extend people’s lifespan?


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JESSE: Yeah. So, I think this kind of begs the question, and this isn’t your area of specialty, but I think it begs the question, should we extend people’s lifespan?

CHRISTIAN: Sure, why not?

JESSE: Well, I mean– Okay, so here’s the big issue right now in the US, and that’s basically class warfare, where you have a disproportionate amount of wealth being generated for the top, I’ll say 1%. But it’s really like point 1%, point half percent. That have– So, it’s like the top 1% have 80% of the wealth in the US. Now, some form of– Regardless of the economic system, often you end up with this dichotomy, this split, where the top small percent has a large portion of wealth.

So, if you extend life, then you have those same people continuing to exist for a longer period of time, which also allows her wealth to continue to compound because of compounding interest, that nice exponential curve.

And then you have the possibility of stagnation and a lack of innovation because there is no forced changeover in the changing of the guard and who’s in charge by extending lifespan. So, that’s where I kind of wonder obviously– Well, not maybe not obviously, but as a human being, I feel like I and probably many of us have this kind of innate drive to continue living as long as we possibly can, right.

That seems like a natural characteristic, we want to be alive. So, it’s like I get it in terms of that thinking, I want to live longer. I want to live as long as I possibly can. But then I also think about what happens when things go wrong, and we get unintended consequences. So, that’s kind of why I asked.

CHRISTIAN: Sure and I totally get it, and this is a legit concern. At the same time talking about governmental regulation. I mean, we have that problem already. But you could look at it from a different angle too, you could say that you’re not only extending the life of the point 1% you’re talking about, but you also extending the life of, let’s say, the next 20% that are highly capable, but not starting off with a billion in the bank account.

So, you’re giving those people more time to work with and to develop what they have. So, you could also think that the proportions are going to shift in favor of the ones that are not in these like point 1% of the [??? 02:57]. So, nobody really knows what’s gonna happen, obviously. So, our history has told us that innovation actually has benefited humankind overtime. It has never been so good. Like it has never been that good as in times we’re living right now.

So, there’s no– and that came with technology, and it came with actually making our collective knowledge bigger and greater than it can be for individuals leaving groups. Yeah, like starting with the book press [??? 03:29] going way back, right. You’re able to write things down so that somebody else can read it and not only need to hear about it, then forget it again, but like actually read it, and maintain that kind of knowledge.

You know, that’s the foundation for all these developments. And now it’s obviously the internet and whatnot. Wikipedia, you name it, right. So, it’s collective knowledge that is pushing us way further than we would be if we didn’t have these technologies and these advances.

So, my argument would be that any kind of innovation was actually, if any, was helping humankind, not disregarding that there have been major fallbacks and just talking about like nuclear fusions and bombs. But at the end of the day, we do have power. And I remember that the US has quite a few power plants that are nuclear driven.

You wouldn’t have that if that didn’t happen. Yeah. It would have prevented two atomic bombs being dropped over Japan, but there’s always gonna be a trade-off for the good and for the worse. But I think it is always going to shift towards the good because that’s what we’re like inherently trying to do. I’m an optimist in this regard.

JESSE: One of my mentors, there’s a phrase for what you’re describing, it’s high tides raise all boats. I actually, I personally subscribe to that philosophy. But I do see the counter philosophy where people just say, like right now that’s very popular, especially with the kind of economic devastation going on at the moment has intensified it, this idea about like, eat the rich and trying to overthrow this rich ruling class. I don’t think you ever get rid of that no matter what system you end up with, personally.

But I think it belies the fact that like you mentioned, these innovations and technology end up benefiting everybody. But I think it’s easy, especially now, with social media and you have all these images of people driving around in Ferraris and stuff. And it’s like I can’t afford a Ferrari, why can’t I afford a Ferrari? Then you feel bad. It’s like this tendency towards pessimism that I think is natural for a lot of people, where it’s like, I don’t have what they have so I must be doing poorly.

Because you can’t really compare with even people 100 years ago, you didn’t live then you live now. And you really don’t have a whole lot of connection to that time period to be like, oh I’ve got a washing machine and I can order food and have it delivered to my house and– [crosstalk]

CHRISTIAN: Sure. Yeah. I agree with you]

JESSE: [??? 06:27] these very nice services.

CHRISTIAN: But that’s an inherent trait of humankind. It’s not only like trying to live as long as we can. It’s also to compare all the time. We compare ourselves to anything and anybody…everybody all the time. And that’s not always healthy, I would say. So, just compare it to a former version of yourself. That would be a healthy way to approach it. Because if you’re doing better then I guess you did something, right. If not, maybe you want to change something. So, yeah. But everybody has their own approach to this kind of problem.

JESSE: Yeah. So, I come from a running background and that is basically the crux of how a lot of my coaches have approached running where it’s like, yes, so you’re running a race, you want to win, but somebody’s gonna win and everybody else is not. So, you can either focus on that, or you can say, okay, last week, I ran that time and this week, I’m 30 seconds faster or 20 seconds, whatever it is. So, I’m personally improving. And their thought or philosophy was basically like if you worry about what you’re doing, the clock and the place will take care of itself.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I guess you need a healthy balance for both of them, right. I mean, obviously, you can’t always just compare your own times, right. It’s not gonna push you to the limits that something’s necessary, especially in like sports. Very nice transition, by the way to–

JESSE: I’ve done this before.

CHRISTIAN: I mean, obviously you have to compare yourself to others too, right? But that shouldn’t be your major source of reward or regret. Right?

JESSE: Right. I think about when we compare, to me, it’s almost a matter of saying, okay, when I compare, it gives me the idea of what is humanly possible. It doesn’t necessarily give me an accurate portrayal of what’s possible with my body. But I know that it could be possible, and the only way to find that out is to pursue it.

CHRISTIAN: Great. Go for it.

JESSE: Yeah. Yeah. So, let’s talk about handball.

CHRISTIAN: Sure. Did you know what handball was before–

JESSE: I did. I did. I went to look up the rules and stuff because it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything handball related. I can’t remember why. I feel like I watched like a short documentary or something on handball a couple of years ago, though, I have no idea why because it’s not popular in the US just about at all.

CHRISTIAN: Nope. It’s a shame by the way, it’s a shame. It’s such a nice sport.

JESSE: Well it’s like, yeah, I feel like it’s a game too. So, obviously American football is hugely popular. And I always feel like the downfall of how popular it is, and because we’re a sports-obsessed nation, is that once people reach adulthood, nobody’s playing American football as an adult anymore unless you’re a professional. And there’s only a very small amount of those people.

And even those people, the average career in the NFL is like, three, four years, it’s not very long. So, if you specialized in that as a kid or you know, growing up, well now what do you do? Whereas like, handball, although it can be very aggressive, you could play that large longer into life then you can–



CHRISTIAN: No not at all.

JESSE: You don’t think so?

CHRISTIAN: No. Average age when people retire from handball is also like 35. Sometimes the goalkeepers– [crosstalk]

JESSE: I’m talking about people are giving up on sports at 20.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, that might be early. That’s true. Yeah. No, we don’t like finish at 20 if you’re like a professional

JESSE: Yeah, I’m not thinking like eight-year-olds are out there playing handball. I’m just saying like– [crosstalk]

CHRISTIAN: [??? 10:44] also not 40-year-olds. They’re retired too except for some goalkeepers. That’s the one like position on the field they’re sometimes a little older. But all the other ones they usually retire like 35, 38 something like that. Yeah. Yeah, why is it not popular in the US? I’ve asked myself this question for a long time and I really haven’t come to a good conclusion yet.

I mean, everybody I showed this sport and not too many people know about it in the first place. Everybody I show this to and introduced the sport to, they’re fascinated, they love it. It’s fast, it’s physical, you have a lot of goals. So, there’s a lot of score happening, right, [??? 11:22]

JESSE: Yeah, people like that.

CHRISTIAN: It can change from a win, like a big win on one side to a loss on that side within five minutes. So, it has all the elements that one would like actually, especially knowing the US sports fanatics. And yet it really didn’t take off in the US. I mean, there have been, I think, two spikes in popularity when it comes to handball and one was obviously after the Olympics because the American team did actually fairly well. I mean, frankly, there is no reason to believe why Americans shouldn’t be good at that sport.

Yes, they have no like history in the sense that they didn’t play it for, I don’t know 100 years. But at the same time, you have fantastic athletes in the US. Why shouldn’t they be able to play like we do in Europe, right? But it’s all about popularity. Some people have said that the lack of presence in day to day life and also in the media is that there are not enough breaks so there can’t be any commercials and that’s why TV stations are not so interested you know?

JESSE: Yeah, but that’s a poor argument and I’ll give you a reason why because now it is taking over 20 years but like MLS here. So, we obviously call it soccer, you just call it football. But I think some coaches, I don’t remember which Germany– Did German use football or soccer? It’s football, right?


JESSE: Yeah. Because it’s then different in European countries, some say soccer, most say football and I get confused on who says what. I just default to football if it’s Europe. Anyway, it’s taken 20 some odd years from like league foundation to now like our team here in town. We’ve had and maybe it’s been broken now, but we’ve had sold-out stadium for 120 matches or something which was just unheard of 20 years ago. And so it’s taken time. But there’s no breaks. I mean, there’s, I guess there’s injury breaks and that kind of thing. But generally speaking, there are no breaks aside from halftime for soccer. So– [crosstalk]

CHRISTIAN: It’s very true. But they do, they have scholarships, introduce it in schools as little as like the three, fours year olds are playing it. And they grow up with the sport and then they have the opportunity to go to college and actually play soccer, right? So, that’s the foundation obviously. And then if enough people play it, and they’re interested in it, then everybody else is going to pick it up too. I agree with that fully. Yeah.

JESSE: Yeah. So, then, so how do we introduce handball in the US? How do we get it integrated into the system?

CHRISTIAN: Well, we have another good chance at the Olympics in LA in 2028, I guess. Now is the time to build the foundation to actually have coaches, facilities, schools, gyms, ways, because there’s going to be a run for handball after the Olympic Games in LA. And last time, the US was really not prepared for that kind of excitement when it came to handball. So, despite basically like the curve flattened out, like to speak in Corolla terms, the curve flattened out really quickly.

And so all that interest got lost really quickly, again, which is a shame. And right now handball hasn’t picked up that kind of spark in a long time. So, there’s a good chance that 2028 to make that happen again, but you know, it’s preparing time now and that starts with coaches, all the facilities obviously, but referees just as much, obviously have to talk about referees being one myself [??? 15:14] nobody talks about referees. They’re there too to kind of [??? 15:19] necessary evil, but guess what, there is no game without referees. So, you have to think about these kinds of things too. And I just hope that they work on that really closely and with smart people making that happen.


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