Your All Time Sports Role Model
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………..