“Character has very little, if anything, to do with class…”: Allan Massie
Filed under: Authors, Interlitq, Sport, The International Literary Quarterly, UK, Writing | Tags: Authors, Interlitq, Sport, The International Literary Quarterly, UK, Writing |
Character has very little, if anything, to do with class, and it is the marriage of character to natural ability which makes for champions. So-called “hungry” fighters are not necessarily people who suffered poverty or what is called “social exclusion” when they were young. Admittedly there are some sports, notably boxing and football, which have traditionally been dominated by people from poor, even wretchedly poor, backgrounds, and we still think of football as a working-class sport, even though its top players become millionaires and season-tickets at big clubs are priced out of the reach of the game’s traditional support.
Champions, however, come from all sorts of backgrounds. An upbringing in Murrayfield and education at George Watson’s might fairly be described as comfortable, a long way from any ghetto or housing scheme. Nothing in it obviously explains the ambition and commitment which made Chris Hoy a winner of seven Olympic medals. Any attempt to determine what makes a champion must look at the individual, not at the environment in which he or she grew up. Jim Clark, Scotland’s first and, some would say, greatest Formula One motor-racing champion came from a wealthy Berwickshire farming family and an independent school education at Loretto. How likely was that?