English 100 @ 8:50 am
The Burden of Being a Role Model
Idols aren’t born, they are made. The people we look up to in our lives were not given that position, they had to earn it in from us. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves: Why do we put them on a pedestal? Most people tend to do this to family members, celebrities or even people we don’t know that work for branches of our local safety department or the military. But, the one place where people tend to hold a majority of their role models is with athletes. It’s no wonder why most people set their hearts on athletes because some of them exceed physical capabilities, give back to charities, set good examples off and on the arena and are just all around great people. Then when those athletes slip up and so something against what people look up to them for, they get frustrated and angry with them. Athletes like Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius to name a few. In some people’s eyes these were roles that they inspired to be, but because they tainted their own good reputation people have let them fall from the pedestal from which they once stood. One aspect that hardly anyone looks at is the fact that when athletes make “One bad decision, and they are blamed for letting us down”(Gary, 3). So the question remains: Are athletes responsible for setting a good example or should they not put be put given the ultimate responsible to be to end-all-be-all of role models? Doheny 2
Ever since the dawn of spots has arrived into humanity, people have treated some of its players with utter admiration. The farthest we can go back is Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth or Sugar Ray Robinson. Back then people portrayed all athletes as heroic idols who did wonders on and off the arena. It was hard for most people to look at these athletes in another way because “…it was easy to confuse sports stardom, which someone like DiMaggio earned, with genuine heroism, which was displayed by the very few, such as Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe.”(Ollove, 3) With only the local newspaper or a little boy on a soap box to proclaim that days’ news, people didn’t have any other media to uncover the lives of their role models. Over many decades the media has grown into the eyes of our society. They snatch up little tid-bits of information in order to make a story or to bring these small points to its’ audience’s attention. With one tap of a screen or click of a mouse, you have the whole world and all its’ information at you’re eager little fingertips. Which makes it easier, then did make in my grandfather’s day, to follow what current athletes are up too. This also means that we can get information on those athletes’ personal lives and athletic lives as well. The television always is a big provider of information on sports and they’re athletes. We see commercials of athletes selling name brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok to name a few, sports casters presenting new news on who has gotten traded or what team has the best chance at winning the World Series. What we also have an insight in are these athletes’ lives outside of their sport. Anything from what happened with Ray Lewis and his murder investigation to the current news about Richie Incognito and what really happened in that locker room with Jonathan Martin. In todays’ age, the media has a huge part in who we look to put on our pedestal.
Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Chris Evert, and Jesse Owens were some of the top 20 all-star athletes that children from 12-17 looked up to, according to ratings from a national study released by the Sports Marketing Group of Dallas(Wilstein,1). Children are by far the biggest contenders when it comes to picking role models, “When black youth were asked to name two or three people they most admired, Michael Jordan tied with God.”(Wilstein, 1). Little kids are a lot like sponges: they soak up everything...