Raising the Bar…

Since the dawn of time, the older generations have guided and inspired the younger.  Children have always looked up to their parents, guardians, teachers and role models and lived by the examples they set.  Whether these exemplars are in the family, in education, sport, exploration, business or politics, we have never failed to follow them.  This is why we, as elders, need to set the example and our generation holds a huge responsibility for future children.  What we do or say can have far reaching effects.  Let me explain…

The last year or so has seen huge changes in how we live, work and travel.  Mental Health has become a repeated headliner as has Resilience and Recovery.  More than ever, we need to show and share our strengths and energy, and head towards a brighter future for us all.

Presently the sporting media is filled with the (so called) beautiful game of football.  The European Championships have packed our Televisions, Social Media feeds and conversations.  In whichever way you view them or what you feel about them, you can’t deny that large parts of the population are thoroughly enjoying the matches.  I was never very good at football, but my father played locally and was a great lover of the sport.  Indeed my Mum first felt me when they were at a match together in 1968 at Sincil Bank in Lincoln. Derby won 0-3 that day and Dad and I saw a fair few Rams matches together in our time.  He used to tell me stories of games played in fog, snow, the mists of Leys Malleable Castings filling the ground and  the inevitable encounters between players such as Francis Ley and Norman Hunter. This was a time when little stopped a match except those two fighting..! And if you want a proper game of Football, come to the Derbyshire town of Ashbourne for the Shrovetide Match..!

Move forward to today.  Many players in sport still hold the headlines, but money, status and the never ceasing media machine seem to have taken over.  Being loud and brash seems to enhance some people’s careers, yet this is not a cause for celebration.  We see grown men on £500k per week kick a bag of wind around a lawn and fall around writhing before international media because they got tapped on the shin.  (Yet you only have to look back at the 2012 Olympics where Kate Richardson-Walsh suffered a broken jaw in the first match, had surgery between games and continued to actively lead her team to victory). Footballers would then no doubt argue with the referee and act like toddlers.  

I think sports such as Rugby and Hockey have set a much better example as the ‘Sin-bin’ is used for any arguments or incidents that do not merit more severe punishment. Yet, for these players where a higher standard is set, there is less money.

And if you want all out action, there’s always St Trinians..! 

In my view, there are real examples of resilience and determination setting a very high bar.

Primoz Roglic & Geraint Thomas – Both Tour De France riders; have received injuries which would put many of us off sport but continued to ride.  Thomas dislocated a shoulder and Roglic described himself as “The Mummy’.  Time after time we see bike riders refusing to stop after major injuries and being treated as they cycle at 30mph..!

Francesca Jones was born with a rare genetic condition called Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia (EED) syndrome; this means she is missing one finger on each hand and three toes. This condition has required frequent surgeries over the years. Though she was knocked out in the first round of Wimbledon 2021, her sheer determination impressed me immensely.

COVID-19 has caused major disruption to the travel industry and millions of peoples jobs, desires and dreams have been put on hold, so can someone explain to me why some think it is acceptable to fly across the globe to climb Mt Everest..?  COVID has been rife in Asia and reports of high numbers of climbers suffering at both at Base Camp and on the mountain, with both Nepali and Indian hospitals under immense pressure already, fill me with despair.  Yet, we celebrate their achievements as though nothing was wrong in the world.

I have tried to live my life as best as I can.  I’m by no means perfect, and I’m told that I set the bar too high, I’ve also been told to ‘manage my expectations’ before.  Well, we can all have opinions; it is whether we choose to voice them.

Please don’t think I’m telling anyone how to live their lives or not to like football – quite the opposite, but think about the examples you see and set.  The books you read and the TV you watch.  The shout or the whisper, the slamming of a door or the delicate close, the grimace or the smile.

The way you act and the examples you set will alter peoples lives, whether you see it, feel it, like it or not…

If you’d like to watch my extended video log, please click below…

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