“The press love to see a sports star fall from grace! All the better if they do it in dramatic style. Think Australian swimming champion Grant Hackett, walking around the Crown Hotel foyer in a disorientated state in his underwear. Former footballer Ben Cousins, stopping traffic on a highway in Perth, clearly fueled by drugs. Think Stephen Smith and co, after the cricket ball tampering debacle of early 2018.
Maybe it seems so spectacular because they are cast as role models in our sports-mad nation. Or maybe, because it is so perfectly tragic. These people are contemporary gladiators with their finely-honed skills and beautiful bodies. Maybe we like the idea of them being dethroned. It is, after all, us who drive the demand for press interviews and paparazzi photographs.
But it is the story of what happens next that is so rarely told. How do they manage their ill-health? Who supports them and what steps do they take to get help? That is the story we should be hearing, because that is the story that will help others. We don’t need more role models to show us how to be successful, we need more role models to show us how to get up after we have fallen.”
Linda Stade Education
The Best Role Model a Child Can Have is One Who Fails