Leader comment: ‘Sometimes meeting heroes can be worth it’

Callum Skinner. Picture: PA
Callum Skinner. Picture: PA
0
Have your say

You should never meet your heroes. We’ve all heard the words before, but is it true? Is any meeting with our idols doomed to end in disappointment?

The answer clearly is no. Just ask Britain’s newest sporting superstar, Callum Skinner.

Twelve years ago the Olympic champion and Games record-breaker was a starry-eyed schoolboy watching Chris Hoy perform his heroics at the Athens Olympics and was inspired to try to emulate him.

Now of course he has done just that.

But the former James Gillespie’s pupil’s experience of meeting his famous predecessor when he trained at Meadowbank was no let down.

In fact, it helped to spur him on to reach the same heights himself.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Comedian and chat show host Alan Carr gets the chance to meet more famous people than most, but it was the prospect of meeting his hero, screen legend Paul Newman, that was the biggest let down for him.

“I was so excited about meeting him, but he turned up in shellsuit bottoms, slippers, and a jumper,” Carr recalled in his autobiography.

“He was just so worn out, he wanted to go home.”

The chance of meeting your idol comes with risks.

If they show no interest in us, we’re likely to be disappointed. On the other hand, if they hang on our every word, will they seem needy?

Why does the great (fill in the blank for yourself) care so much about what I’ve got to say?

A brief encounter is probably relatively safe. There’s a chance to shake hands, or grab a selfie, exchange a few words and hopefully not embarrass yourself.

A more meaningful relationship, like working with a hero or becoming a regular acquaintance, means you are more likely to see character traits that you won’t admire.

Callum’s experience though shows that if you get the chance it’s probably worth the risk.