OK pretty sure the letter to Nick and Bernie struck a chord. 48 hours – 1.9 million people reached, 14,000 shares, 31,000 likes (as well as, it must be said, a good smattering of “shut up, you wanker” type calls).
To anybody still listening, please consider this:
Let’s not hate these guys. Let’s not spit at them in anger. Let’s understand that many of the qualities that make them so good, also make them vulnerable. Vulnerable in the sense that their self belief is so strong, their focus so sharp, they don’t always see what we see. Hardly ever, in fact.
It might sound like I’m hedging my bets, but I’m not. Bernie and Nick – in the eyes of so many (certainly mine) – have been carrying on like wankers. Huge wankers. That doesn’t mean we should hate them, or bode them any ill will. It just makes them easy targets.
It helps to understand that we all look at sport through our own paradigm, overlaying others’ performances and actions with our own beliefs and value systems. I was brought up to accept personal responsibility, to live within my means, and to respect authority figures. Tomic doesn’t – he’s a wanker. See what I mean? Stop and think for a second – how was Bernie brought up? What script do you reckon he’s been reading (or had read to him) for 22 years? (Morning, John!)
The lives of professional athletes – particularly high profile athletes – are far more complex than we might ever imagine.
In many respects, “superstars” become the product of their environment – adulation, acclaim, blurring if not removal of the boundaries that apply to us mere mortals. And the greater the talent, the higher the profile, the faster those factors come into play.
In some infinitesimally small way, we all play a part in creating the likes of the intolerable Nick and the insufferable Bernie. We fuss over skills that they spend thousands of hours honing, and then reproduce on a large public stage. Those close to them often agree too readily, and tell them what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear – the truth. If we treated them normally – neither revered them when they won well nor bagged the crap out of them when they fell before the final hurdle, perhaps they’d be a little more normal. A little more like us.
But that’s not how the world of professional sport works. We like big winners and sorry losers.
I’m stuffed if I’ve got all the answers, but I thought shining a spotlight on some of our attitudes and thinking might be a good place to start.
Like I’ve said, I’d love to see Bernie and Nick seize all the opportunities in front of them. That includes, with just a few modifications, being respected and admired, as well as rich and famous. (There I go again … overlaying my own beliefs and value system … )
Thanks again for your involvement in the discussion, even the bloke who called me a big eared, egg-headed freak who have no f#& k-ing idea what I was talking about. You could be onto something there, Nikolai.
Remember – if you shared the “rant”, please share the “reason”.
And if you really want to find out what goes on in the world of professional sport, you can find it here.
Over and out!