Have we set the bar too high?

An opinion piece by Andrew Howie

Sports stars are in the entertainment industry. They compete against musicians, artists, opera singers and even clowns…. They compete for the disposable income of the masses. Why do we think they can be anything more than this? I find this idea of them being role models  profoundly crazy. I believe that somewhere along the way we have become lost.

Why do we expect them to be gods both on and off the field? Why do we expect that these human beings should act impeccably all the time? Back in the amateur era, true legends were carved. They would train tirelessly whilst still holding down a professional occupation. They were first of all a lawyer, doctor or banker. And secondly they were a sports person. Do we ask too much from them these days? Should we not be satisfied with their sporting prowess? We expect that they will be immune to the attention and the advances that come from stardom.

Tiger Woods is a very high-profile example. As are Frank Lampard and his mate Ashley Cole. We have Brendan Fevola , Greg Bird and even Willy Mason in Australia. Every code has their bad boys. And every time they do something bad we seem shocked and once again disappointed. I believe that it is our unrealistic expectations that are the root of this problem. We build these little boys up to be gods and place them on a pedestal. All the way up there on the tight rope without a net, with a strong breeze blowing.

Let’s not pretend that big business is not just as at fault as everyone else. Corporations have long been bedfellows with pro sports people. Indeed they offer up huge endorsements to partner these heroes with their brands. And in turn enjoy the spoils of the success through increased sales.

If we are approach this with brutal honesty, I buy Titleist golf balls because I think they make me a better golfer, not because Tiger has a cute smile. He is a golfer that no one else can get close to beating. And that is why I respect him. And that alone. I don’t care that he cheated on his wife with 12 other women. I think him a fool and a dog for doing it. He ruined the lives of 2 very young and innocent people, and also that of his wife. But at the end of the day, I watch him and all the other élite sportspeople for their skills on the pitch, not off it…

What are your thoughts….?