THE San Francisco Giants Blog

Your All Time Sports Role Model

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on January 23, 2013

Charles Barkley told us he isn’t a role model and he couldn’t have been more right. He wasn’t one. But a lot of pro athletes are role models. For young sports fans growing up they are right up there with your parents, a little league coach, your favorite musician, the best 8th grade math teacher there ever was….. I now realize that it sucks as a parent to have those cats role modeling next to you for your kid(s). But it only sucks if you just leave it alone and don’t parent them. You have to translate the role model to your child. The Good, the bad and the Ugly are all in play. A role model (to me)  is someone you respect, someone you wish to be, and someone you try to live your life by.  That’s some complex heavy shit. And there isn’t a single person out there in the world who’s perfect……

My Number 1 qualification for an athlete role model is this: Show the world how to lose with dignity, class and sportsmanship. Anyone can feel good/look good winning. But the flip side of winning is losing. And you can’t have competition without both. Lots of my favorite players missed opportunities to show off this skill. I remember the game that snapped Jerry Rice’s consecutive catch streak. He walked off the field and kicked the pylon about 20 feet in protest. This morning I watched the highlights of Serena Williams losing to that teenage chick (can’t remember her name) and she bashed her racket into the ground after a lost point, destroying it and finally flinging it into the bench. And I remember the day that Twin tainted my feelings about Will Clark by uploading a link to an SI article that made him look like a fucking d-bag……..

Three examples of winners who acted like losers. Three role models who stopped being role models. But all three have brilliant qualities to pass on to your kids. All three people are fantastic role models–if the details of their life are translated properly. That’s where parenting comes in play…….

I’m not going to name any of my actual sports figure role models. Not right now, at least. I’ve got a girl who needs to go bed and several things need to go down right now to make that happen on time. There’s a Taylor Swift poster above her bed. I know very little about Taylor Swift. But when the time comes, I’ll do my best to translate her role model-ness to her. I just hope it’s not tonight………..

:) :) :)

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  1. blade3colorado said, on January 24, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Great post Flav. When I had role models, the media covered up their worts, e.g., Willie Mays (all around surly prick), Muhammad Ali (womanizer), Ty Cobb (racist), Denny McClain (gambler) . . . The list goes on and on. I

    Today, I only ask one thing of an athlete – Don’t roll over. Maybe that’s why I have no problem with Serena slamming her racket on the ground. In the heat of the moment, athletes are emotional and it’s almost impossible to reign that emotion in. The alternative are fucking losers like the Red Sox, that were drinking beer in the clubhouse during a game or Hanley Ramirez dogging a pop up or routine grounder. Pieces of shit like him, Iverson (cocksucker who doesn’t like to practice) or Latrell Sprewell – who cold cocked his coach and said shit like, “$20 million isn’t enough. I have a family to feed,” can kiss my ass.

    I would have given my left nut to be a professional baseball player and to see ANYONE roll over pisses me off no end.

  2. snarkk said, on January 24, 2013 at 1:55 am

    The Snarkettes love Taylor Swift’s music. I kinda dig her tunes, too. But, role model? Uh, not bloody likely. She’s very talented. But, she’s constantly turning over dudes about once every two months. And she was one of the merry go round ponies that John Mayer jumped on for about a month or two (only about 15 years her senior), and he became one of HER songs. I think she starts up and dumps dudes to get song material. Pretty much is the theme of her new album “Red”, which has good tunes, BTW. Not exactly a role model for my Snarkettes at their age, and they sniff at her for that — at least now they do. Plus, the older one’s ticked at Taylor for dumping the One Direction guy Harry. (too much information). When they are her age, maybe they’ll be doing what she’s doing. But, I probably won’t wanna know, and I probably won’t anyway…

  3. chipower9 said, on January 24, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Outstanding thread, BF. Those of us who have raised kids can certainly relate. I know I can relate, I raised two kids. Raising kids is tough work, but IMNSHO it is also one of the most rewarding things in life. I like to think that my ex and I did a good job with our kids. They are responsible young adults, have good jobs, are respectful, etc.

    On the topic of role models, for my son during his formative years, it was mainly Will Clark (yeah, my love of Giants baseball wore-off on both of my kids big-time). (Curious about the SI article on Clark…if I read it, I don’t recall the details – damn…getting old sucks.) My son had a Will t-shirt that had a caricature of Will on it. He loved that shirt much that he would sleep in it. He would not want to give the damned thing up to have it washed. It was the damndest thing. Anyway, I think there were certaily less worthing athletes who he could have picked as a role model.

    The two who really come to mind for my daughter are Martin Luther King and Omar Vizquel when he played for our Giants (my daughter played SS in girl’s softball). Again, she could have done much worse.

    I always thought Omar was a class act. I recall one day at a game and we were sitting lower box, third base line, and taking in pre-game activities. The players came out to do pre-game stretches, etc. Omar saw us checking him out (and my daughter even called out his name a couple of times), and came over. My daughter told him that she played SS, had always admired him, that it was her BD, and asked for a picture with him (he obliged). The next year while at a ST game (Ranger’s against Giants at the Ranger’s yard), we saw Omar (his first year as a Ranger) and called to him. He came over and (so he says) says he remembered my daughter from the previous year. That is the kind of things that players can do that, in my eyes, make them a good role model.

    Anyway…great thread.

  4. twinfan1 said, on January 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Some slightly edited comments of mine that led to this thread. Thanks to Craig to following up on it.Quickly- Mr. Clark tainted *himself* in those days with actions that nearly led to a clubhouse revolt along racial lines. I’m happy to seee that he appears to have changed as he’s aged..
    “I loved Roberto Clemente, adult fans had a hard time accepting him-not just the ethnic issue, but the hypochondriac thing, and he often appeared nonchalant, fans perceived it as laziness, plus he really didn’t produce until the championship season.
    It’s a testament to his spectacular defense and throwing arm thay many consider him the greatest RFer ever even though he never had the power numbers that are associated with that position.
    As a player, nothing sums it up better to me than this: he played in 14 World Series games and hit in all of them.
    His greatest legacy, of course, is not as a ballplayer but as a humanitarian. The shock of hearing of his death on New Year’s Eve, 1972 while flying food and supplies to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua, was magnified because his good works weren’t known but to a few.I think he was the first stand-out Latino in MLB and paved the way for many greats to follow. That and his stature as a man should compel MLB to retire his number as was done for Jackie Robinson.
    May I suggest his unform number be our reminder tomorrow that baseball is right around the corner?….”
    .’He identified with the struggler and the family,’ says Luis Rodriguez-Mayoral, the center’s director of international affairs and Clemente’s former confidant and biographer. ‘He was never too tough to touch the head of a baby.’….
    “…..maybe a good thread would be who our sports heroes are- performance doesn’t have to be a main factor- just the whole- the man or woman as a performer, their character as we know of it, whatever it is that makes him/her a person to be admired, a person in sports who you would hold up to a child as one to be a role model. I don’t think that sports figures have an obligation to be a role model- but some fit the bill, IMO.
    Clemente, Ali, Arthur Ashe, Manute Bol, and Casey Martin are the first who come to mind for me.”

  5. xoot said, on January 24, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Barry Bonds has provided me with a challenging set of issues to translate. What the fuck can you do but look at the problem as an opportunity? After the BALCO revelations my older kid decided to stop wearing his home 25 jersey around the East Bay. Just too much trouble. He was still ready to get into it with anyone who insulted Barry, however. His younger brother was more reserved. He just didn’t understand how Barry seemed to go from hero to villain overnight.

    If I’ve told this part of the story before, I’m sorry. That first Halloween after the indictment I talked to the little guy about the costume he had to put together for the “parade” at school and for his nighttime stroll around the block. I wanted to keep it simple, and when he understood my idea, he was in. He would wear one of his Giants hats and his brother’s old 25 jersey. He said everything went fine at school. His Giants-fan teachers liked the costume. It was easy to put on and take off, and so forth. That night I went around with the other parents in the neighborhood and watched the kids go up to front porches to get candy. My kid looked like a penguin in a bathrobe as he went down the walkways. The jersey nearly reached the ground; the sleeves stopped just short of his wrists. That sight alone was sort of amusing. For a while I was too far away to hear his conversations with the people giving out cand, but he was getting some laughs so I figured he was doing ok. Then the kids approached a front porch close to the curb. The man at the door said, Cool, a Giant. Who are you, Willie Mays? Tim Lincecum? Turn around. When he saw the back of the jersey, he pretended to be outraged. Whoa! Barry Bonds? No, said my kid clearly, I’m Barry Bonds without steroids. It took a moment. Then the guy laughed hard and looked toward the interior of his house, yelling: Come here, come here! You’ve got to see this. Barry Bonds without steroids!

    • unca_chuck said, on January 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Too funny! Love it.

    • chipower9 said, on January 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Great story, xoot…thanks for sharing.

  6. twinfan1 said, on January 24, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I’ll add that Ghandi undoubtedly had imperfections- when I present a man or woman as a role model, or more correctly, a person to be admired, it doesn’t mean that he/she is a person without flaws.In fact, that great men and women have imperfections is a life lesson for young and old alike. Since Will Clark was noted-here’s a man that can now be presented as a real life model, not a fairy tale hero- that people can change- and change for the better. What better role model than that?

  7. unca_chuck said, on January 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Well, everyone’s fucked up in some way. Jesus? A little needy, eh? Seriously, though, one’s parents ARE their role models, whether they are part of the parenting process or not. Next comes whoever else is there. Whether that’s someone worthy of being a role model is where things get iffy.

  8. twinfan1 said, on January 24, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Chiildren will look to celebrities, rock stars, sports figures as role models whether one likes it or not. I guess we hope that we’ve been decent enough people that the people our children admire are those who demonstrate the values that we’d hoped to have instilled.
    Reality is that ultimately that’s a crapshoot. Pray…


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