Look, I love Charles Barkley. I want the guy to run for political
office. But he has been wrong on one comment, and perhaps,
it is not what he believes. He said, in a Nike commercial, that
athletes are not role models.
WRONG. Maybe many of them behave like thugs, convicts
and or buffoons, but that is what we accept and much of media
applauds the athlete with the character attributes of a British
mob movie ( Dirk Bogarde, B movies in the sixties, or Lock,
Stock and Three Smoking Barrels).
I become particularly nauseated when real journalists, or perhaps,
journalists as actors, on ESPN, called Mike Vick’s Dog fighting
saga as the sports story of the year. I just about took my new
cutlery and removed my ears. Are these people living in a parellel
universe? Perhaps an epidemic of crack smoking has broken out
in the ESPN offices?
So, in respect to real athletes, in all sports, who take the benefits
that they get as athletes, and understand their responsibility back
to the society that applauds their jumping, their throwing, and their
running, here are a few modest examples of athletes who SHOULD
be the stories of the year:
World Class Class–Tyson Gay. This guy wins gold medals at 100 meters
and 200 meters against the BEST in the world. He runs them down over
the last quarter of the race. After nine races, he, then runs the 4 x 100 meters
with his team and take gold number three. In his press conference on the
hundred meters, he speaks of how hard it must be for Asafa Powell, the WR
at 100 meters, who faltered and took the bronze. Gay is not your normal bragging,
athlete. He also showed class in supporting his coach, who took his lumps like a man
and took responsibility for his actions.
World Class Confidence-Kara Goucher has guts. Her move over the last thousand meters of the World Champs 10,000 meters garnered her the bronze medal. Then,
her first half marathon, in BUPA Great North Run, against Paula Radcliffe showed that
Kara Goucher is no flash in the pan. In her interview, she spoke how Alberto Salazar had trained her, and how she knew she had done all she could in training, so, it was time to relax, engage and race.
World Class Graduation–Alyson Felix. Oh, how I love watching this women come off the turn in the 200 meters! There is NO ONE in her league. Her focus is supreme, her execution is one hundred percent until she cross the FINISH line. And she ran personal bests at 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters this year. Felix truly showed her class, and her understanding that she is, in fact a role model, as she finished her college studies this past week!
There are another twenty stories I could do about athletes in our sport who show respect to themselves, their teammates, their sport and their countries. The truth is, athletes should be held to a higher standard, and coaches, trainers, and parents who do not understand that are not doing their job.
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