Love-hate relationships

29th October 2009 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings | 0 comments

Fascinating article in today’s Guardian about the hidden antagonism which some top sportsmen feel, or come to feel, towards their chosen sport. It seems they’re reluctant to voice such feelings because they know the general public regards them as fortunate beyond belief to be living the life that they do. ‘I play tennis for a living even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have’, Andre Agassi is quoted as saying. Other top sportsmen are quoted as saying that when it rains on their way to an outdoor match – football, cricket – they can’t help feeling enormous relief. Why? Because they won’t have to play.

It’s a little-known fact about many musicians too. No doubt it’s a complex matter, a love-hate relationship rather than simply a matter of ‘hating with a dark and secret passion’. But music and sport definitely have something in common: the need to be on top of your game at all times, the terror of failing in front of an audience, the need to ‘win’ on every occasion, so that you may be asked to play again. Even those who love music deeply can develop a secret aversion to the life of a performer. There’s a famous story of cellist Pablo Casals, who admitted that when he injured his arm in a climbing accident in 1901, his first reaction was one of relief: ‘Thank God, I’ll never have to play the cello again!’

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