Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Role Model

Who did you look up to growing up? Was it an athlete? How about a movie star? Maybe it was just a common, down-to-earth person from your home town. Were they a positive role model or a negative role model? Did your perception change about them as you grew up? I must confess I’ve changed my opinion about a number of my role models as I’ve grown up and matured. Unfortunately sometimes they give us no choice.

Dr. Robyn Silverman describes role models as “people who others imitate, emulate or look to for guidance. There are good role models who inspire greatness in others and bad role models who are what we call ‘bad influences.’” Dictionary.com defines a role model as “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, esp. by younger people.”

So who do you think is a better modern day role model, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps, or Kurt Warner? All three are a success in their sport. All three are examples, one positive and two negative. So who would you want your kids to look up to?

As a Texas Rangers fan I was somewhat an A-Rod fan (thought I though he was grossly over paid. With all the scandal surrounding Barry Bonds I had hoped A-Rod would break all his homerun records. Now, he’s no better than Bonds other than the fact that he admitted his use and chalked it up to being young and stupid.

I must also admit I rooted for Phelps to win all eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics. It was definitely the “feel good” story America needed this summer. Imagine the dejection millions of people are now feeling after seeing the pictures of Phelps smoking a marijuana pipe on YouTube.

Kurt Warner on the other hand has always been above reproach. Known for his rise from grocery store stock boy to Super Bowl MVP, Warner has always professed his faith in Christ and his actions prove what he believes. Whether he is stocking shelves or confusing defenses Warner has served as the perfect role model. I was so disappointed that Warner was not able to win another Super Bowl.

Honestly super star athletes serving as bad role models is nothing new to the industry. Long before my time, athletes were having inappropriate relationships on the road, consuming mass quantities of alcohol and drugs, and attempting to win at all cost (don’t believe me, check out the MLB steroid scandal). What seems to be more disappointing than anything is the attention media provides for the “bad” role models and how little press the “good” role models get (again, check out ESPN for proof). A portion of my doctoral dissertation was on perception verse reality. I don’t want to bore you with my findings and I would have to find my dissertation to do so (I think it is a door stop somewhere in our house), but, in a nutshell, perception is rarely equal to reality. Sure our country has serious moral issues, but we rarely hear of those living above reproach like Kurt Warner and Tim Tebow.

I’m not sure what we can do to change this. I’m not even sure what I’m writing about. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Providing me with a platform to rave on and on about something I have little if any knowledge of? Maybe not, but that seems to be what others do!

Honestly I just wanted to give a shout out to Kurt Warner. He’s a good example of someone “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.” In this day and age with all of the negativity maybe we can learn something from him. Aspire to new heights.

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