MY SAY: Why the surprise when our superstars fall down?

I'VE RAISED this before and will do so again here.

It's time we come to terms with the fact that sportsmen and women are not pseudo parents or religious-type figures to be worshipped and followed.

It beggars belief that every time an athlete falls down in public it is met with shock, disbelief, anger and the whole spectrum of emotions in between, considering we, the fans, help set them up to fail.

These people are professional athletes.

Not priests, life coaches or school teachers.

Nowhere do they sign on to being held up as a shining light of society and the guide by which we should all, especially our kids, be living our lives.

They're the same as you and I, except they were the superstar kids who were standouts as six-year-olds instead of playing with butterflies.

They're the ones who probably opted against studying or working full-time, or travelling, and committed themselves wholeheartedly to their sport, often starting out on minimum or below-minimum wage, to try and realise their dreams.

They don't dream of being role models.

No one does as a kid.

They dreamed of emulating the on-field heroics of their favourite athletes.

So why is it that we, the same society that for some unknown reason builds these everyday people up as demi-gods, tear them down and cry outrage when they inevitably fall?

They're human. Failure at some point is a certainty.

So why do we maintain the constant spotlight, scrutiny and pressure?

I'm not saying for a second that some of their shortcomings are excused.

Understandable though?

Absolutely.

What would you do if you were a young person with an Adonis-like physique; paid to play sport, hailed a hero by thousands of people you've never met with time on your hands to spend your significant salary?

Sure the critics will say they would work a job, help out a charity or study. But would you really?

We're living those lives and I reckon many of us would give plenty to be in the same position some of our elite athletes.

I also reckon many of us would behave a hell of a lot worse - in fact I know we already do - than some of these athletes.

So why don't we scream outrage when a 20-year-old punter gets arrested for drunk and disorderly on a Saturday night?

Aren't they just as much a "role model" as a same-aged counterpart who just happens to play sport for a living?

Hats off to the many sports stars who acknowledge their profile and are excellent role models, it's admirable.

But I think society also needs to make clear to our youth that there are other people from whom they should be drawing their guidance. Admire the athletes for their talents sure, but there are countless others in communities leading exceptional lives.

Wouldn't it be great if our young kids were inspired by athletes but guided by the likes of emergency service officers, war veterans, farmers, volunteers and the like?

It might even bring some more perspective to those elite athletes in their uniquely privileged situations.



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