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‘Role models’ in sports

Amanda Lowrance

Most young athletes look for a role model in sports; someone to admire and dreams to chase. They run around proudly displaying team jerseys of their favorite players and their name wrote on the back, but who are they idolizing really?

Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, and Larry Bird are among the many sports idols I grew up with. In my day, Dennis Rodman and Sting seemed to be oddballs, but they were still admirable.

My only letdown, which is off the sports subject but still a big disappointment, was what happened to Pee-wee Herman. 

It’s not a secret as to what happened and many probably snicker when hearing his name. 

When he was arrested and the show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse was taken off the air I was only about 8-year-old and far too young to understand.

This incident was just one that set the stage for many celebrity career suicides. 

Today, famous athletes have taken a turn for the worse and many hearts are being broken just as many were in 1991. 

Mark McGwire, who is the hitting coach for the Saint Louis Cardinals, had a great run as a homerun hitting legend. He was once compared to Babe Ruth, but is now known for cheating with decade’s worth of steroid use.

Michael Vick, NFL quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles spent time in prison just a few years ago for admitted involvement in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring.

Kobe Bryant, NBA shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers has a lot of talent, but also has a shady past and an even bigger ego. 

Tiger Woods has been making tabloid headlines left and right with personal issues, but is making an effort to start anew.

Once loyalty and trust is lost from faithful fans, it’s a hard road trying to regain it again.

Role models are not only on television, but in everyday situations and role models do not necessarily have to be winners. Too much emphasis is pushed on winning. Winning does not make winner.

Michael Jordan, one of my few remaining idols once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” 

We all want our children to set high goals and have great role models, but can they be found and trusted in sports today?

(The views expressed in this column are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Independent Appeal or its owner.)

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