You may have noticed our poll this week: are we failing our young stars? In his interview with Alex Malley, Ricky Ponting talks about the challenges that face cricketers when they retire with no education or degree to fall back on.
Depression and anxiety rise to greet stars on the way out of the game, often attributed to a sense of loss of self or purpose. It got us thinking, is Ricky right? Should we be doing more to make sure all stars (sports or otherwise) have a sense of purpose outside of their athletic pursuits? After all, these are the people we all, but especially our children often look up to. As a parent I think about what the effects might be of encouraging a system of success that can leave someone in the end with nothing. We all need options and balance to evolve and grow with the times and environment around us.
So, I have come up with three reasons I think stars owe it to the wider community to get an education and set themselves up for a lifetime of success, on and off the global stage.
1. The chasm between life before stardom and the one after is too steep to maintain perspective. Most of us realise it’s not normal to make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a young adult and we don’t have a team of people (parents excluded) enabling a life of training and travel. But, why would these young stars? Can anyone blame them for being swept up by the life and times of everyone around them? Adding an education layer would expose them to experiences outside of their comfort zone and provide much needed perspective as to their options for the future.
2. Some of the most successful stars of today are also savvy businesses men and women, known for their entrepreneurship and leadership skills. Natalie Portman went to Harvard, has been published twice in scientific journals and speaks six languages fluently. NBA legend LeBron James owns his own marketing agency, known as LRMR, which secured endorsements with Nike, Sprite and Glacéau to name a few. Did every star turned entrepreneur get a degree? Probably not, there’s always exception to the rule, but so much more is expected now in order to succeed to such heights. Exposure to a tertiary education is one of the most powerful ways to get life experience and make potential business connections.
3. Perhaps most importantly, I believe an education would make these stars better at their current jobs. If you think about it, dedicated athletes can make exceptional students. After all, a true star is usually a student of their own game. There’s more to it though. We have all had experiences outside of our profession that make us better at our jobs. For these stars strategic thinking and leadership (especially as the Captain of the Australian cricket team) are crucial skills. These same skills are valuable in the workforce and any level of education that helps to develop and enhance these skills is not only of benefit to the star, it makes for a more progressive society and workplace.
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