An interesting question came our way from someone in New Brunswick. Applicable to the nurturing of promising athletes with the current Olympic performances.
“How do you, as a senior artist with all that experience behind you, see the nurturing process of someone and how can that potential be brought to fruition?”
We can only answer based on our own experience, which is, of course, not that of an athlete. However you could say both nurturing talent of an artist and an athlete is similar.
Some athletes compete with full heart, as amateurs. Others move on to become professionals. With athletics careers are short, while the artist (amateur or not) can spend a lifetime at their chosen discipline.
Body and mind are like a fruit tree. Nursed properly, these will blossom. All blossoms destined to bear fruit must be able to survive the ‘elements’.
Blossoms that fall prematurely, or those which aren’t pollinated, can’t bring forth fruit. When we look at the stages of how buds appear on a branch, right through to the unfolding of the blossom, and from this to fruit --- and compare this evolving with a promising athlete or artist, there are strong parallels.
What then happens to someone who is in a state of full potential but who cannot ‘ripen its nourishing fruit’?
A person in this state can feel like they’re unwanted or as if their wings are being clipped.
For any athlete or artist in order to reach full potential, three essentials are necessary: Ability, Energy and Opportunity. What good would it be, for example, to have Ability and Energy, but no Opportunity? Or to have Opportunity and Energy, but no Ability? And so on. All three are interdependent. Now, just try to explain this to those who are “providers” of opportunity (which often means financial support), such as government, or patrons, or the education system! (Yet, they expect five-star results.)
Ultimately whether financially supported or not, athletes or anyone in the arts are themselves the real patrons. And that’s a fact!
George Bernard Shaw said, “If you’re going to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise, you’re in deep trouble.”
Now here’s something to laugh about, courtesy Will Rogers, the “Roping Fool”: “Every time Congress makes a joke it’s a law. Every time Congress makes a law it’s a joke.”
Not much to laugh about, though, when great potential is nipped in the bud, unrecognized or not nurtured. Signing off, Henri