I haven't posted for a long time but the debate raging in the online world since the world cup about Luis Suarez has got me thinking about the nature of what we consider as talent. From listening to some of the sports news comment and some of the views expressed in social media it is clear that Suarez clearly devides opinion but I am beginning to wonder if we need to consider this argument from a different perspective?
The question that is bouncing around in my mind is, 'could it be that in some individuals, personality flaws and behaviour transgressions are inextricably linked to their excellence?'.
I'm wondering if Suarez would be as good as he is as a footballer, or Lance Armstrong as a cyclist, or Kevin Peitersen as a cricketer if they didn't have some of the characteristics that also define them as being problematic? Recent research conducted by Lew Hardy at the University of Bangor in Wales has identfied that a key distinction between high level performers and those that we might describe as 'super elite' is that they have experienced some kind of trauma in their childhood which was later used as fuel to drive their supreme athletic abilities. This has made me wonder whether one of the things that defines the truly great from the rest of us is that fact that they are wired slightly differently either because they have had some kind of experience which has shaped the way they interact with the world or because they have some kind of inherited personality trait which drives their amazing ability but could also have a dark side that manifests itself in actions that are beyond the boundaries of the acceptable.
I am left with a number of questions....
Given that many of these characters come from fairly humble beginnings and often have upbringings that would drive the majority of people into lives or crime or drugs or poverty and yet they are still able to beat the odds succeed should we be so surprised and shocked when these individuals transgress periodically?
Should we expect that this is likely to happen in a world where rampant commercialism generates overnight millionaires and the mass media creates stories around heroes and villains with rampant impunity?
As uncomfortable as it may be, what if those amazing performances that we are so entertained by come with a price and that price is that they are also driven to act in ways that are morally repugnant?
I want to be clear that I am not trying to excuse their actions I just find myself wondering how we should feel about it if we understand that the negative side is so closely linked to positive side.