Sunday, 13 April 2014

Jerzyk, shut your mouth up!

Poland is a country is which an individual is faced with lack of prospects, in sport, in business and in private life; where the youth of the nation study only to flee the country, where the up-and-coming sportsmen train in sheds – this is the picture of Poland painted a few days ago in a outburst of wrath by Jerzy Janowicz, a young and talented Polish tennis player, after he dropped out of the Davis cup.

Then he went on with his rant against journalists, who interrogated him why he had failed to live up to their expectations. He advised them to live through the sacrifices all the successful sportsmen have to make and only then start criticising and having expectations, since those entitled to have them are those who had committed themselves to help him pursue his career.

The heavy coin the tennis player dropped sonorously has two sides. On one side, I am not taken aback by his irritation over expectations, bad form, etc. I am also fed up when bystanders who have little notion about the effort sportsmen take to pursue a victory and all the mental pressure they are under begin asking about causes of someone’s poor performance, mistakes, etc. At some stage, successful sportsmen become a country’s teddy bear and whenever for any reason they do not come up to exorbitant expectations, everyone holds it against them and dissects the letdown.

The other story is how he slated Poland as a country. I am far from flag-waving and national-pride kind of patriotism, but as a young citizen of Poland, I felt outraged. Not because, as some claim, he said what everyone knows but leaves unsaid for sake of good manners, but because his tirade was an utter twaddle! The course of his career best disproves his lousy statements. His parents sacrificed a lot to assist him in developing his tennis skills and invested thousands of zlotys in him and until now the outlays have paid back several times. He is damn lucky to be one of the most talented players to stand out and make international career. Overwhelming majority of his peers had no chance to get that far and so what? Should the government, with money collected from taxes, fund trainings for everyone who claims to have makings of a future sport star?

My indignation stems from my beliefs. I am of the opinion a man’s fate lies mostly in their own bare hands and blaming “the system” (government, schooling, labour market and all the factors that somehow affect one’s success) is taking the path of least resistance. If you want to reap, you need to sow. Sports career is like setting up a business. Many businesses go bust and very few grow big and successful. In many cases what entrepreneurs invest goes down the drain. Tough luck, such is the life!

As another young and successful Pole I would never, ever have the temerity to slam my homeland so unkindly, even in a private conversation. Cross my heart, I do not think Poland is a country where youngsters have no prospects, although I hear it often and whenever I take issue, my interlocutors ask me whether I am not out of my senses. Cross my heart, I do see a reason why I would need to seek opportunities to pursue my career abroad, if there ample in Poland. Cross my heart, I owe what I have attained to my own sheer hard work, skill (something that is inborn but if not exploited, is useless) and luck (once I happened to be in the right time and in the right place, I knew such opportunity might not repeat and seized it), not thanks to connections or bribery. And I believe decrying the homeland in public is deplorable!

Nevertheless, as a representative of the young generation I need to express my concern over prospects the most talented and best educated university graduates see for themselves. The biggest ambition of the gifted young people is to work in corporations where the play the role of a cog in the machine. I also am one of them and see the simple reasoning driving youngsters there. Corporations give some degree of security. Although you can be fired, if you work well, it is less probable than bankruptcy if you run your own firm. You get a fixed, decent and timely paid salary. Rules of the game, although not always fair, are at least clear. This is just a concern, I sadly admit I cannot see myself in any other role, so I am even unable to come up with any constructive criticism. Long live the corpo-world. Roll on Monday!

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