John Perry is my role model. He is not an actor, singer, or professional athlete. John is my father-in-law. I have learned everything I know about being a husband and a father from him. John is not a perfect man, but he is upright. I trust him and I love him. What does this have to do with sportsmanship? Please refer back to my first sentence. Kids need role models – real people whose example they can follow. Far too often, professional athletes are saddled with the burden of being role models to kids via television. I can hear the voices already saying, “They do have a responsibility to kids. They make all that money. The least they could do is set a good example.” Professional athletes have the responsibility of being role models to their own kids, nieces, nephews, and their friends. I have the same responsibility.
Michael Jordan, Emmitt Smith, Jose Canseco, and Dominic Hasek are my all-time favorite players in each of the four major sports. I have never met any of these men. None of them know they’re my favorite player. Yet, they are responsible for me? What about the real people in my life? My parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, coaches, teachers, and church members should be showing me the right way; not a guy on the game of the week. If we took the time to teach, coach, and mentor the kids we know, things would be better. If you don’t know any kids, become a volunteer coach. Contact your local parks and recreation department or YMCA. They are always looking for coaches.
In the end, you and I are role models. We will teach the next generation. We will mold the next Lebron or Kobe. An old proverb says the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Take the first step. Become a role model today. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!