Yesterday a television commentator, Mia Freedman from the Today Show, decided that it would be a good idea to tell us who we could hold up as heroes. She has copped a lot of abuse for her short sited and ill informed rant and some of it went well beyond what is acceptable, which I do not condone.
There have been many educated responses too; such as that made by Dr Bridie O’Donnell in an open letter to Mia.
The incident was precipitated by the Australian Cyclist Cadel Evans’ win at the 2011 Tour de France and the outpouring of emotion from his long time supporters and those who tuned in to the coverage in the last week or so.
Although I agree that we are occasionally too quick to class some sports people as heroes but having seen the adversity through which Cadel’s victory has emerged from, and knowing firsthand how tough the sport of road cycling is, I certainly classify Cadel as a hero of mine.
Mia’s argument is the same used to play down artistic or creative endeavours as being less than those of scientists and doctors. It is through witnessing the courage of people like Cadel that the world’s “would-be-scientists” keep slogging away at their study and research in the dark hours of the night.
We don’t live for scientific or medical breakthroughs, we strive for them so that humans can live and grow. What is more important – the doctor who saves a few lives or the writer/singer/sportsperson who inspires millions to keep on going even when the circumstances become difficult and the future looks bleak.