Maradona and the Drug of Success
In the words of Eduardo Galeano…
“He played, he won; he peed, he lost. Ephedrine turned up in his urinalysis and Maradona was booted out of the 1994 World Cup. Ephedrine, though not considered a stimulant by professional sports in the United States or many other countries, is prohibited in international competitions…
Diego Armando Maradona never used stimulants before matches to stretch the limits of his body. It is true that he was into cocaine, but only at sad parties where he wanted to forget or be forgotten because he was cornered by glory and could not live without the fame that would not allow him to live in peace. He played better than anyone else in spite of the cocaine, not because of it.
He was overwhelmed by the weight of his own personality. Ever since that day long ago when fans first chanted his name, his spinal column caused him grief. Maradona carried a burden named Maradona that bent his back out of shape. The body as metaphor: his legs ached, he couldn’t sleep without pills.
It did not take him long to realize it was impossible to live with the responsibility of being a god on the field, but from the beginning he knew that stopping was out of the question. “I need them to need me,” he confessed after many years of living under the tyrannical halo of superhuman performance, swollen with cortisone and analgesics and praise, harassed by the demands of his devotees and by the hatred of those he offended.”
To Maradona, one of the greatest football players of all time, success was a drug. Drugs are employed when we want to do something to our body, something that lies outside our natural capabilities.
Maradona is not an isolated case. The drug of success is fierce, one of the most common bandaids to unfulfillment and meaninglessness in our time – the ultimate Pleasure Treadmill; the ultimate leaky bucket.
I have said on this blog before…
We live, each of us, in two worlds.
One is visible, the other is invisible.
One is determined only by others, the other is determined only by us.
One is the focus of the West, the other is the focus of the East.
Both are important. Both are different.
And they are completely unrelated from one another.
Success in one rarely relates to success in the other.
They are the Inner Wolrd, and the Outer World.
Maradona was a titan of the Outer world, but a minnow of the Inner.
This poisonous word ‘success’ refers only to the Outer World – it is a disease we hold up with our judgements, and how we are impressed by things others have and have done that we can see and measure. But this is the ultimate Iceberg Effect.
There is no reason to celebrate Outer World success if the Inner World is empty. For that thing we call success, which refers only to what we can see and measure, need not have any correlation to what is happening inside.
As was the case with Diego Armando Maradona.