Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Heroes Fall

Lots of things 'exposed' in the media sadden me.
Last week alone I felt empathy for a working Mum and her 'fag scandal', for local accident victims and their families, for survivors against all odds, for mothers held up for scrutiny in the public eye, for winners, for losers, for people forced to rebuild their lives over and over... and on and on and on...

But I'm running on empty in the empathy department when it comes to the current storm over drugs in sport.
It makes me feel a tad sick actually.
I feel sadness when I think about these athletes abusing their bodies and the system - but I also feel cheated too.
Like every kid who has idolised a sports star or every person who aspires to have the determination, commitment and discipline that we believe these supreme athletes to possess, I feel duped.

It's reminiscent of that moment when you realise that your Dad is in fact an actual human being who makes mistakes, who doesn't actually know absolutely everything about everything and sometimes just can't 'fix it'.

Here in the West, it's no secret that many of our sports 'stars' live 'colourful' personal lives and are definitely far from squeaky clean.

I recall seeing many of our sports 'personalities' out and about in the wee hours - during season - obviously engaging in, um, shady pursuits!
I've known of many athletes' connections to drugs, gangs and crime.

The 'hero' culture that exists over here has contributed greatly to the problem.
These guys or girls are elevated to superstar status, plied with money, celebrity, connections and sponsorships - and then often left to their own devices.

There's the argument that it's not an athlete's responsibility to be a role model for my child - that's my job.
And I agree.
But, mate, if you are being paid a very generous salary to hone your god given talent, value your health and respect your body in order to perform 'on field' - then I find it difficult to feel sorry for you when you fail to do so deliberately and spectacularly.

There's also the argument (a'la Lance) that drug use is so widespread that it would be a serious disadvantage to your performance and results if you didn't follow suit.
"Everyone else did it!"
We don't accept such excuses from our children, so why should that be a valid defense for grown adults?

For me, the idea of sport is synonymous with health, fitness, participation, goal setting, camaraderie, dedication, valuable life skills...
Positive ideals.
Values I would want to instill in my children and students.

The reality of professional sport seems to be a different game altogether.

I (mistakenly?) thought that sports science was about getting the absolute best out of our bodies - naturally.

So, I'm watching the saga unfold now with trepidation.
A bit like car crash media - I don't want to look, but I can't help myself.
I don't want to know how far this will go - but I'm curious too.

I feel for the genuine, honest sportspeople who will have to defend their conduct.
I feel for the families of those 'exposed'.
I feel for the fans who are about to watch their heroes come crashing down off that pedestal.
I feel for Ben Cousins (and those arms of his) because he had to fall from grace all alone - there's some comfort in numbers! :-)

I wonder if I could get someone to investigate that chick who beat me in the Perth Marathon while they're at it?

Any thoughts?
Am I truly loopy for believing that sport should be 'clean'??

Shar :-)


Loz said...

I live in such a naive Loz cocoon. It never occurs to me that people lie, cheat or behave any other way that I wouldn't. But I've lost count on the number of times I have turned on the telly.. And left bewildered with a giant question mark above my head.

Coal Valley View said...

It SHOULD be clean. It's now just so widespread that I worry that it sets up a precedent of being just a little bit acceptable. I feel like I'm constantly shaking my head at what's going on and as for this latest revelation and at the risk of sounding like my parents, I'm just really really disappointed. Mel x

Mama of 2 boys said...

All I will say is that I have NEVER understood the money... and power... that is so readily bestowed on sporting stars. I find it all rather obscene actually. And in the UK and US it is even more unreal. They're just people for goodness sake. It is why it disturbs me to think of the influence they often have over our children. I appreciate the dedication, commitment and hard work they put in, I just have a hard time putting them up to hero status. Where drugs comes into it, they just lose me altogether.