Role Models?

(Disclaimer:  If you're the mother of an athlete, please do not get offended by this post.   I am merely voicing frustrations and my opinion.)

What is this world coming to?  LeBron James' announcement warrants it's own 1 hour special on ESPN?  I guess I should be thankful it's not on one of the major networks.  Here's what I think about the NBA and their championship:  Why in the world do they play the best 5 out of 7 games?  They should do like the NFL does:  play one game in a neutral (sometimes, anyway!) city.  Period.  June isn't basketball season.   Winter is bball season, not late spring or summer.  Let's make March really "mad" and have the NBA  Championship at the end of the month.  (HA!) 

Mr. James' (I refuse to call him "King James") mother took out a loan for his 18th birthday to buy him a Hummer.  She got the loan based on a prediction of his future earnings.  Seriously.   Isn't this also the guy who was caught cheating on his wife who was his high school sweetheart?

Then there's the University of Ga. football player who just got arrested.  The police responded to a complaint about someone shooting off fireworks.  When they asked the player his full name, he said he didn't know his middle name.  Then, he said he knew it, but he didn't know how to spell it.   (The policeman thought he was being a smart-aleck,and arrested him for misdemeanor obstruction.) How did this young man get into a higher institution of learning?  How in the world did he get a high enough ACT or SAT score to get in?  Better yet, how did he even graduate from high school?  Oh, I guess I should tell you his middle name:  Lawrence.  His mom's  explanation was that "he doesn't go by his middle name for personal reasons." (Athens Banner-Herald)  I don't go by my middle name either, but  I definitely know what it is and how to spell it.  Has this young man never filled out personal information on any forms?  What about the form for his driver's license?  

These are the role models for kids today?  It just burns me up that some parents are so into their kids playing sports and being the best.  I know it's only natural for parents to want their kids to be the best, but when did playing sports stop being about having fun, improving coordination, and learning life lessons?  The percentage of kids who will  go on to play sports in college is a mere 5% (according to NCAA estimates), and the percentage of those kids who turn professional is 1%.  To me, it's more important that the kids have fun and learn the life  lessons that go along with sports (hard work = success; knowing how to lose, etc.).  I know people who spend most of their kids' school lives at practices and games, and,  if that's what they want to do, great. As long as it's the kid who wants to do it.  The summer that OS was an alternate for his baseball team just about did me in.  The daily practices, the away games,  the eating out, the hotel  rooms...I don't see  how people do it.   One of MS' friends was big into soccer:  he played year-round in club leagues, plus his high school team.  He was on the All-State First Team, and was Offensive Player of the Year  for the state.  So, where is he going to play soccer next year?  He isn't.  He's  decided he's  had enough, despite the offers and interest he's had.  

I just realized I'd gone off on a huge tangent!  Sorry.  Back to the role models.  You mothers of young sons:  Do you want a good role model?   Here's a perfect one for  you:

He's smart, he's humble, he's an incredibly hard worker, and on top of that, he's a great athlete. Okay, I'm a little biased:  he was OS' and MS' teammate in high school. 

I know there are a lot of athletes out there who are good role models.  The whole sports thing has gotten way out of hand.  Yes, this from a woman who loves to watch sports!  I see kids whose parents define who their kid is by what sport he plays or how he did in the last game/match.  On the other hand, I know there are parents out there who find a good balance between sports & the rest of life...I have one in my family!  Could our boys had been more driven? Probably.  But, we stressed that they were Scholar Athletes (with the emphasis on "scholar"), and that if they weren't having fun, they should find something else to do.

Okay.  I'll come down off of my soap box now.   Who are your children's role models?  What athletes do you think are good role models for children today?


  1. Amen!!! You are completely right. My kids role models have typically been their teachers and, hopefully, us. Definitely not athletes or movie stars or celebrities. An awful lot of them have been great examples of what NOT to do though. :)

  2. Amen, Sister! I have this same soapbox issue. How noble is it to be an NBA player? Big whoop. Call me when he's done something fantastic with his life like teach or be a nurse to a child with cancer. Then we can talk about how great he is, but for now....he's JUST a basketball player. And an overrated one at that!

  3. We've gotten to where we cannot stand the NBA in our house. It's not even about basketball anymore. That being said I don't think the NBA has done a good job in helping young athletes who sometimes come from rough backgrounds manage sudden wealth and fame.
    Of all the sports out there I think the NBA is at the bottom. And I agree...why is it four seasons long??

    On the whole I prefer to watch college sports...they seem to still have a love for the game.

  4. Mary, thank you so much for inviting me to accept the Blogs With Substance Award. It made me really take time to think about why I'm writing and what I'm writing--and to come up with five words to embody that thinking! I'm happy to pass it on to others.
    And I do think your blog has a lot of substance!

  5. I couldn't agree more, Mary. I just can't believe that so many people are worked up over where LeBron is choosing to play ball. And I LIVE in Ohio! :-) Though I do hear that he has done lot of good work and donations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

  6. As the mom who did all of the extreme traveling with a soccer player child, I can speak from the other side.

    It can be challenging to find balance. On the one hand. children sometimes need to be pushed; however, you also have to listen to your children and not press upon them YOUR dreams.

    Until children take ownership of their interests, be it music or whatever, they won't truly excel at it.

    I saw this happen with my daughter.

    We allowed her to quit playing on one of the best travel teams in the state. She went back to her old much inferior...and quickly figured out how much it meant to her to play soccer at a higher level.

    That's when she was on board 1000% with all of the traveling and practices. She rejoined her former team and never complained again.

    I have been around so many parents who push their kids too hard and, as a result, turn their children off from wanting to try.

    I suspect that most parents have the right intention...helping their children live up to their potential.

    Having a child who will become a professional athlete with loads of $$ to back their play...that often makes people forget about the original reason for playing the sport.

    As parents, we need to make sure we steer our children, athletes or whatever, toward down-to-earth role models.

    I'm not sure who my children look up to, but I strongly suspect whoever it is heavily involved with the church.

    That makes my heart sing.

  7. I was just about to type AMEN when I saw it typed twice already. Amen, anyway!

    Listen to this hero...

    My mom is in the Peoria, IL diocese she told me that their seminarian gave up his professional soccer career to become a priest.

    Can I hear a big Amen on that one?!

  8. Can I spell my name correctly...ugh! I must have been too fired up about that hero stuff - LOL

  9. I totally agree with this post!

  10. If we understand that sports is a BUSINESS and not try to make it into apple pie and american virtue, then we can keep things in perspective. The bottom line for all sports is money. There's no indictment in that - it just IS.

    I've always told my kids that even Michael Phelps worries about whether he'll swim faster enough in the next race. There will always be someone faster or more agile or better from the outside . . . eventually. So they need to focus less on what they can "DO" and more on who they "ARE".

    Athletic gifts are God-given, and no gift from God should be squandered; nor should it be corrupted by pressure from others.

  11. my son is grown, but a no. of people who play professional sports have gotten into drugs and whatever and they are not good role models. parents should be the 1st role model as well as teachers.i think your view of this issue is valid have a good day.

  12. Finally catching up on my reading! Very well said. I completely agree, girl!


  13. That soapbox is getting a bit crowded, and heres another "I AGREE" to add to the rest, so move over and let me on too.

  14. I grew up in a home where athletes were raised up and touted - each proclaimed as my father's preferred choice of role model for me.

    I am ashamed at the number and names of so many sport stars that I can recall - their faces, their faults, failures and victories - yet I cannot recall the books of the Bible let alone the characters esteemed there?

    Thanks for adding this post to the Saturday Sampling. I'm glad I dropped by.

  15. We've never modeled the worship of athletes as heroes for our kids, and I'm happy to say that each of them, when asked to write essays about who their heroes were, they answered "my parents."

    It seems that wherever there is genius (academically, sports, professional), you will also find an imbalance. It's sad, but our society reinforces it. I have a friend who pushed, pushed, pushed her children in athletics from the time they could walk, with the goal of them becoming professional athletes in some sport or another. To them, it is all about competition, and I just don't get it. Her kids are both teens today and are excelling in life and on the field, so I can't criticize, but it's something to see, I tell you.

    Great post. Thanks for linking up.

  16. LeBron James has such a big ego, he better watch out because "Pride goeth before a fall." I just wish The Cleveland Plain Dealer wouldn't keep feeding his ego by writing about him every single day. Then today, the whole front page of the paper was a full length picture of him. Cleveland should just stop moaning about his leaving and move on to other more important things.

    Stopping by from Saturday Samplings at Mrs. 4444.


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