Social scientists confounded!
Days ago, Tyler Wright slipped into the soft cocoon hand-crafted by the World Surf League own Chief of Strategy Officers and lit a match. The Lineup, which generally features surfers and surf personalities spackling the patented Wall of Positive Noise, is not a place for hot takes but Wright, two-time World Champion, doesn’t play by those dull rules and used her almost two hour session to speak on many things including, the “different emotional and psychological abuse” from her father Rob.
“I experienced that and I worked with a psychologist for years to understand my relationship with surfing and understand how that was born, how it was really unhealthy for me,” Wright said. “I’m rebuilding a relationship with surfing because of the drastic and extreme circumstances that I was raised in…Look, this is not uncommon. Which is baffling for someone like me. If this is not uncommon, why don’t we have better solutions, better parenting programs, better informed industry? I’m not the first child this has happened to. I’m not the first child star this has happened to.”
Opinion on the champ “laying the boot into the old boy,” who suffers from dementia, was mixed, though did resurface the age-old question. Are professional surfers born or made?
Are “child stars,” as a whole, born or made, for that matter?
In Wright’s take, she was clearly exceptional from the womb and succeeded even though she was raised in “extreme circumstances,” i.e. a hard-driving patriarch with professional surfing dreams draped all over his three charges Owen, Tyler and Mikey. But what if Mr. Wright didn’t care what the children did? What if he let them frolic here and there, lick ice cream and play video games? Would they have all reached great success in professional surfing, Tyler the greatest?
Again, she seems to think the answer is “yes.” I suppose it follows that she would imagine Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, etc. reaching the heavens without their meddling papas, who should have been all slapped up the side of the head with parenting programs.
If she had chosen a different path, say avant-garde theater or racing horse trainer, her argument might more sense, to me, but I don’t understand how she can so deftly splice how she was raised from her surfing-specific success.
What great truths am I missing?