OPINION: High achievers have never been closer

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton lad and West Coast Eagles player Chris Mainwaring at the 1992 AFL grand final.
Camera IconGeraldton lad and West Coast Eagles player Chris Mainwaring at the 1992 AFL grand final. Credit: Rod Taylor/WA News

I often refer to the six degrees of separation.

According to Wikipedia, the six degrees of separation suggest that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other.

Sometimes this can be summed up by saying that you knew about someone or something due to a friend of a friend of a friend.

It makes me think of an old song that was made famous in the late 1920s.

It went something like this,

“I’ve danced with a man, who’s danced with a girl, who’s danced with the Prince of Wales.”

Apparently, it was written at the height of the popularity of Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII, before abdicating to marry, American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

I believe he was a person that everyone liked and followed, indeed, a celebrity of his time.

Today, in Australia, sport is something that grabs our imagination.

Often a human-relationship trail to someone famous in the sporting world holds a degree of street credibility.

Even so, I reckon the credibility around this type of relationship has dwindled, somewhat, in recent times.

For instance, when I was a youngster, or even a teenager, having a connection to someone in the big time was pretty special.

When Murray Wrensted and Chris Mainwaring were selected in the very first West Coast Eagles squad, we all thought it was something out of this world.

Someone who we had grown up with in our town was playing in the VFL, on football’s biggest stage.

Footballers in the VFL were those who we only ever saw on the telly, perfect exponents of the game.

And now, it was, as if we were part of it.

Yet fast-forward 30 years, and we have lads from our local schools, living up the road or next door to my nanna being drafted, but it doesn’t stop there.

In fact, it really is now simply the norm to have teenagers from Geraldton and the Mid West being regularly identified and drafted.

Last year, Alex Ducas (I grew up with his dad) was picked up by an American university to play college basketball, after being drafted to the Australian Institute of Sport.

It is quite possible that this boy could one day be playing in the NBA.

And, more recently, Morawa and Nagle Catholic College product Andrew Stokes received a scholarship to travel to the US and play American football with the University of Southern Florida.

It’s not just sportsmen though. Actors, writers and musicians from this area are continually making advancements in life that we all once thought was only a pipe dream.

Is that six degrees of separation shrinking?

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