18-year-old Emma Raducanu is hailed as a role model for young people everywhere.
Even the Queen congratulated her on the message: “It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age and testifies to your hard work and commitment.”
At least that’s it. But it is also about the little “something else”.
In showbiz, it is called “star quality,” and no parent’s encouragement, hard work, or dedication can produce it.
In the same way, only a few elites rise to the top in their chosen sport, and how / why they do it is still the subject of many’s debate about “nature v nutrition”.
When I went with the dog the day after Emma’s victory, the local tennis courts were filled with young children being encouraged by coaches to hit the ball over, rather than into the net, while their loving parents looked for signs that their offspring were Wimbledon champion.
And on the football fields it was also busy, mostly boys in primary age games played matches, while their parents (predominantly fathers) rumbled from the sidelines as if they were watching their favorite Premier League team in the FA Cup final. I stood and watched for a while, and already now some of the kids are noticeably better than others.
Perhaps, as Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book Outliers, they are the oldest in their school years, and thanks to being physically larger, they have already been selected by the sports coach for extra training.
Or maybe their parents are eager for them to excel in the sport and this is already their fourth training session this week. Who knows?
But if we could turn back time and say, for example, seven-year-old Lionel Messi among them, he would make meat of the party.
That is the case with “elite” sports. You may be the best at your school, but if you move to the county level, there is probably someone (or even a few) better than you, and it narrows even more if you are one of the small minorities being elected for the development of a professional team, the competition is even tougher.
One website says that only 180 from 1.5 million. Youth footballers in the UK are likely to make it all the way to the Premier League – a success rate of 0.012 per cent.
And it’s even more challenging to make it into tennis major leagues because it’s an individual sport and as a beginner you often have to pay for your own travel.
So was it nature or care that drove Emma to victory? Or maybe a mix of both, as well as the required desire, motivation, good coaching and ability to work even harder than your rivals do?
She says her Romanian father, Ian, and Chinese mother, Renee, who both work in finance, nurtured her athletic prowess and were “pretty tough” when it came to developing her mental resilience. But there are plenty of parents who do, and their offspring do not do the great sporting.
When it comes to “something else”, Emma’s former tennis coach Harry Bushnell says: “While she’s only 18, it just feels like she’s been here before and she’s born to do it.
Check out the footage of a young Messi on YouTube and it feels the same. Or as one viewer put it: “I can assure you that this is not normal. These are some strange s ** t. ”
Religious or not, the phrase “god given talent” sets the mind ablaze. And throughout history, only a small minority have it.
But what then? Regardless of the hours (or are it centuries?) We spend driving our kids to and from matches, it can only be a good thing to encourage them to participate in a sport.
It helps fitness, teaches teamwork, and while running around a track and not glued to a screen, hallelujah.
The majority who show early promise will eventually be overtaken by others and may continue on a hobby level. Some will completely abandon their chosen sport.
But a small minority will reach it, and as long as that glimmer of hope remains, local parks and sports centers will be filled with children hoping to become tomorrow’s Emmas and Lionels.
Ride, but still so ugly
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are part of what have been called “turnip toff” sets living near their weekend retreat in Norfolk.
One of them is a stately homemaker Ollie Birkbeck, who in May 2018 married another stately homemaker named Laura Trenchard.
But now it looks like the marriage is over and 48-year-old Ollie is expecting a baby with Sophia Hesketh, whose father is a gentleman, and sold their family pile in Northamptonshire for £ 50 million to a Russian oligarch. As you do.
Ollie says: “It’s a little sour. We’re nervous – we’re looking at each other right now, wondering if we’re really thinking this through.
“We have a nursery and we have hired some nice ladies to look after it.”
Posh people; they’re on another planet, right?
Flan Flinger’s first are just desserts for Kim
JUST as the women of Afghanistan are forced back into burqas by the Taliban and separated from their male counterparts, Kim Kardashian shows up at the supposedly prestigious Met Gala wearing this creation by designer Balenciaga.
Each to his own and all that, but really?
A garment that suggests that the enforced anonymity is inflicted on women by a brutal regime worn by the woman who has made millions by selling every last remnant of her private life.
Maybe it’s ironic.
Either way, if it were to be a fashion statement, then it’s an old hat. Tiswa’s Phantom Flan Flinger beat her to it in the early eighties.
The NHS is sick
JUNE GRAY’s son has Crohn’s disease, an often painful digestive condition that must be monitored through regular blood tests.
But 69, June, from Ipswich, says the tests “pretty much stopped during the lockdown”, and when she could not get a personal doctor’s appointment for him, she paid £ 95 to go private.
When they arrived at the place provided by private provider Spire, she was surprised that the doctor was one of the doctors from her son’s normal NHS practice.
Apparently he “kindly refunded his fee and sent my son to the hospital for blood tests.”
The least he could do under the jaw-dropping circumstances.
Last week, Spire reported 81 percent more revenue from self-funded patients in the second quarter of the year than in 2019.
“People find themselves paying to get off waiting lists,” says Justin Ash, Spiers’ chief executive.
A shameful reflection of why the NHS needs drastic reforms before we pour even more billions of taxpayers’ money into it.
Real royal mess
COMEDIAN Harry Enfield has remembered an awkward scenario behind the scenes at a Comic Relief event.
“I was just about to go on, and someone said, ‘Your Royal Highness, Prince Edward, is coming in, and you must get up and call him Sir.’
“I went, ‘I do not get up. . . and I’m not calling him Sir – he’s a guy my age. “
Consequently, he was barred from meeting the Queen’s youngest son, and it is imagined that he did not care for one shot.
This is a problem that the “monarchy” will increasingly face when the highly respected queen dies.
Most of the mystery that has supported this institution for centuries has been slowly eroded by the ill-advised behavior of those in it.
Prince Andrew is being chased by US lawyers over allegations of sexual abuse (an accusation he denies), Prince Harry’s toe-curling interview with Oprah Winfrey has sent his popularity plummeting, and Prince Charles’ verdict is being questioned. to have offered to meet a “murky” Russian who was trying to donate a six-figure sum to his charity.
Who will feel safe in the future by bowing and scraping for these supposed “princes among men?”
US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 18, rubs shoulders with JLo and Megan Fox at the Met Gala as she switches A-levels to A-Listers