Thursday, July 16, 2009

Which Athlete Do You Want Your Kid To Admire, Emulate Or Otherwise Respect?

I'm not going to answer this here -- it's more of a start to a larger, ongoing discussion about athletes as role models. And, if they are role models, which athletes you want your kid to admire?

For example: Boston fans, do you want your kid to admire Tom Brady? I guess it would depend on how you feel about getting your girlfriend pregnant, then kind of fleeing the scene. (Although Brady does apparently spend many quality days per year with his kid.)

Do you want your kid to admire Tiger? Ahh: Now THERE is a good father, driven at work but utterly devoted to his kids (probably more now than before he took a year off to rehab, when he really became a Mr. Mom -- there's a Tiger documentary in there, somewhere).

Personally, I would go with Tim Tebow. Yes, I'm biased. (Especially as of yesterday.) But what's not to like about a guy who is not only a great athlete, but a great person?

Do my kids need to learn the specific lessons of evangelical Christianity? Oh, probably not. But if I ever met Tebow, I'm quite sure he would respect my kids' non-Christianity and simply instruct them in some solid moral high-ground: Golden Rule, etc.

I think one of the things that makes Tebow so fascinating is that in an era and a culture of stars -- sports or otherwise -- who never EVER live up to their image (or our aspirations for them), Tebow does.

So: Which athletes do want YOUR kids to admire, and why?

-- Dan


collinwho said...

Albert Pujols seems like a fine example of an admirable athlete.

Matthew said...

While you are absurdly predictable in your choice, I can't say I disagree. Much. Everything I've heard about the guy definitely makes him worth emulating, especially, for me personally, his unabashed faith.

My only beef with Tebow, after his youth, is that some 10-year old kid who Googles his name is greeted with a picture of Tebow with a random, well-endowed, frat girl. I know young boys are fond of boobies and all, but I'd prefer they take a back seat to the more admirable qualities to a figure boys respect. I know it's rather ultra-conservative to be bothered by that sort of thing, but if it's my son, I'd rather him learn more about his hero, not about the cup size of the girls hanging off his arm in college.

In any event, my choice, like the commenter before me, would be Albert Pujols. For my taste, the Pujols love-fest over the All Star break was a bit much, but I think you'd admit it paled in comparison to the adoration regularly lavished on Tebow. Anyway, Pujols has had longer to establish his historical place, which is probably not dissimilar to Tebow's at this point. (Consider: both could never play another game and still remain large figures in the history of their sports--perhaps Tebow even more so).

Still, I like that Pujols has been around longer and remained the type of man Tebow appears to be, even at such a young age. Also, as a bonus for me, he too shares my faith and by all accounts is a tremendous family man. (Oh, and when you Google Pujols, you get pictures of him actually playing his sport, which is nice, too.) My point is, the moral aspect of the athletes is important to me, personally, which makes me impressed by both Tebow and Pujols.

Thing is, though, my two kids are both girls, and I don't think I could tell you which female athlete I'd want them to admire. Any ideas?