On the Tuesday after the Easter weekend, anyone who cared about footy at work was talking about Patrick Dangerfield. Everyone was excited about the Hawks/Cats game, but it was Dangerfield that stole the show. He was eye-catching – strong, powerful, skilful and determined. You simply couldn’t not notice him. Even Hawks fans would’ve had to acknowledge his presence.
Then again, with the way all were talking, you’d think that the folk of my office, situated in Melbourne’s outer east, had never seen the man play before despite the fact he has spent the past eight years starring for Adelaide. It certainly was a stunning display by a man in his first game for a new club, but obviously those that have followed him would not have been surprised, such is his talent.
Talent is an elusive concept. To continue with the discussion, I must define my terms, so talent can be understood as “natural aptitude or skill”. It can seem so obvious: Dangerfield, Gary Ablett, Lance Franklin, Nathan Fyfe, Dustin Martin, amongst many others can do some things that far more many just can’t. That is a major driving force, I think, for people to watch sport. We want to see the things that talented people can do, and we like to see it happen in a competitive environment.
It makes for an exciting experience to see extraordinary things being performed under duress, especially when that thing is something we have attempted ourselves and found difficult. Still, while the talent of these men seems obvious, how exactly can you label someone’s talent without taking into account the determination and practice that has gone into the fulfilling of the talent? How do you know when the talent has stopped, and the hard work has kicked in?