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Oscar Pistorius, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and more: the unspoken contract!

18 February 2013, 12:00
This is a conversation not on the degree, nor the status. It's more an observation on society, and our need to focus on the good.

We live in a world with so much senseless pain and suffering that we often choose what to acknowledge and what not to. Many people try to focus on the good and positive, in order to uphold their faith in human nature and to further the belief that no matter how bad things are, good will overcome. Now, this is a very positive characteristic of human nature, in the sense that those who don't see life this way, end up becoming very depressed. However, if we look at the state of the world, where rape, murder and war are things that many read about, but more have experienced, it brings to mind idea that good may really not be winning. Now I fully agree that the media fuels this very one sided view to a great degree, but without the story, there would be no news.

Enter the real life heroes whose determination we admire, and whose stories, goals and achievements gives us faith in human nature. They can be sporting stars, actors, musicians, philanthropists and general celebrities alike. These people fight against all odds to achieve their dreams. Many come from obscurity, and represent the underdogs who have risen above the privileged to reach glory. We follow their lives in such a way that we place them on a level above the average human being, and why not, in most cases they are. This works in two ways, for one, it means we view them in such a way that they can do no wrong. Secondly, they begin to view themselves in the same way. Again we are seeking for the positive happy stories in the world, ignoring what is right in front of us. We seem to forget that these 'heroes' are human like us. The fact is, the do or die dedication, determination and will to win at all costs, which put these individuals at the top of their respective fields, are the same characteristics found in the most notorious characters in the world.

Enter stories like the current one involving Oscar Pistorius. Now, no one can deny what he has done for the disabled, the general sporting community, and anyone with a dream to achieve greatness against all odds. All the facts are not out yet, and no one can claim to know the truth until in emerges in court. Right now all is just speculation. However, when once looks at news, blogs, social networking and the like, it is amazing to see the polarized opinions. Articles about him being a womanizer, risk-taking over confident individual with a fascination with guns and fast cars. All these things are synonymous with fame, money and power. Why is every story up to know about how great he was, but as soon as a scandal arises, everyone seems to have known that he had it in him. That really, he actually was a bad person all along, that did some good things, not the other way around.

It's like the whole gun debate going on in America. These 'troubled' kids getting weapons and shooting up school, shopping malls and wherever else they can get to. After the fact they talk about the killers 'profile'. About how he was a loner, was strange and different, kept to himself, and didn't have many friends. They blame parents, teachers and medical health practitioners for not noticing these things in advance, and reporting them to the authorities. It is like they were always killers, but everyone failed to see it and stop them. No one takes responsibility for making them that way. Bullies never come forward with stories of how they made every day of their lives a living hell, and how they were isolated and mocked almost to death. No one blames society for treating those who are a little different as social outcasts, and making students feel like if they are not 'cool' in High School, that they have nothing to live for. I mean what is the world we live in. This rant has gone a little off the topic, but it is all related.

Tiger Woods was and is a great golfer, and he was hailed as a role model, but as soon as is was revealed he was an adulterer and had slept with everyone and their mothers, he was shunned. It came out he was a 'sex addict', and yes that's a real thing, not. All the good he'd done and his great skill as a golfer was overshadowed by another scandal completely unrelated to the very reasons he became famous. Again, those who supported him felt shame, and embarrassment for supporting someone who was now revealed to be perverted sex fiend. Sure, it's not as bad a murder, or is it? Only time will tell how Oscar fans will feel about having supported him once this scandal plays out.

Lance Armstrong's scandal too came as a complete shock mt many people around the world. He was hailed as a cancer survivor, a great athlete physically and mentally, and a philanthropist who has raised millions for his cancer foundation. He gave millions around the world that if you have dedication, hope and a dream, that you can overcome anything in this world. Then the doping scandal dropped. He denied it, accused the accusers of lying, and his supporters followed him all the way. Then he told Oprah it was all a lie, and it emerged he was the 'bully' behind a 'performance enhancing' drug taking scandal that rocked the entire cycling community. This far reaching revelation tainted not only him, but the whole cycling world. It also brought on a sense of distrust for not only cyclists, but any athlete that seems 'too' good. This is not without good reason either. Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that he's not the nicest person, to put in mildly, and that his whole career was basically a lie, it does not take away from the great things he has done in raising funds and awareness for cancer.

The point is that whenever a scandal such as these arises, we always see an outcry on the web, social networking sites and the like. Everyone talks of how terrible it is that someone was murdered, or that an athlete used drugs or cheated on their wife, repeatedly. Perhaps it is for the very reason that we put so much faith in them, not only as heroes in their respective fields, but as fighters for and representations of good in this world. Maybe we are not disappointed in them as much as we are in ourselves for believing that there is pure goodness out their, in the same way as there is pure evil. Our quest for hero worship may mean we miss out on the everyday things and people that are good. In the same way, we judge those same everyday 'normal' people and things overly harshly against the super high standards we believe our 'heroes' stand for. When we read of murder, rape, adultery and the like of non celebrities, we seem to take it in our stride. Of coarse it is not true that any life is less important or any rape is more important, but it seems different when it happens everyday, and when 'normal' people are involved. Sure it hurts and angers us, but we rarely take to posting about in online, and news reports may mention instances in passing, but rarely follow the story to the the conclusion. It is like an unspoken agreement has been broken between us and our heroes, when they do something wrong. We feel like if they are really human, then what hope do we have, and if that is true, then evil wins. However, if we realize that they were always human, and that every human has the capacity for good and evil, then maybe we wont be so hard on them. Maybe only then can begin to put faith in ourselves, and start to take responsibility for our own actions, instead of focusing on those of others.

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