“Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off”
C G Jung, Psychological Reflections
This Jung quote got me thinking about my greatest sporting hero of all time – George Best.
George is four years older than me and he played football for my beloved Manchester United in the mid 1960’s to the early 1970’s.
I was in awe of his ability and I watched him play many times when I was a young man. He was everything we all wanted to be on a football pitch. He was worshipped by the fans at Manchester United and still is to this day.
In a nutshell - although I am unashamedly biased George was the greatest footballer ever produced in this country if not the world – and then some.
No modern day footballer approaches his natural ability.
He did things on the football pitch that most mere mortals can only dream of being able to do. He was frankly a genius with the ball. His talent was awesome.
The sad thing is that off the football field things seemed to go wrong for George and he regularly hit the headlines for his ‘off the field’ activities. These included alcoholism and living life in the fast lane as far as relationships are concerned.
His football career ended prematurely as he was only 28 when he finished at the top level. It was quite sad to see him turn out later for teams that were many levels below Manchester United. He had become a shadow of his former self.
The Jung quote sums up George well … he had more natural talent than any footballer I have seen. He also had charm, good looks and frankly had the world at his feet.
And yet … George stumbled on bad times.
Living with his incredible ability must have caused immense pressure on him and his own fragility presumably was one of the causes of his slide from the dizzy heights he reached in his prime as a footballer.
It seems to me genius comes with fragility sometimes. So sad.