Found this digging through some of my old writing. It is surprisingly still relevant.
Who do you celebrate; the man or the athlete?
Men (and women) are flawed, make mistakes and poor decisions, have to validate their choices, their very existence to themselves and loved ones. Athletes are these impossibly heroic superbeings, perfect in form and physique, whose talents and feats elevate them to a place of near godhood.
Who do you celebrate?
Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer the world has ever known. He is the elite athlete in a sport that traditionally shunned men and women like him. He is the most marketable name in the pantheon of marketable names. He is the epitome of what can happen if you work long and hard at a particular skill, of the success that can be attained through perseverance. He is a hero.
Tiger Woods is a wealthy and powerful individual with a family, who, it has been revealed, acted as wealthy and powerful men do. He had mistresses. Several mistresses. Who acted like the mistresses of wealthy and powerful men do. They kept the secret until the secret came out. Tiger Woods betrayed his wife and children. He is the villain.
Alex Rodriguez may go down as the greatest baseball player since George Herman Ruth. He admitted to cheating, to artificially enhancing his body for three years to boost his stats and make the people love him more. He is the ultimate douchebag.
Alex Rodriguez is a father/was a husband. He admitted to cheating, many women on many road trips. He was divorced, taken to the cleaners, lost. He has found love again. He is the ultimate reclamation project.
Derek Jeter is the face of the most popular and successful franchise in sports. He has numerous personal accolades, several world championships. Plays the game "the right way," and his peers have gone on record to say they would lose faith in the game, in sports, if it ever came out he was cheating the game. He is the ultimate idol.
Derek Jeter is a wealthy young guy living in New York City. He has a vast multitude of women at his disposal, from entertainers to beauty queens. He is the ultimate player.
The question is, who do we want our children to be like? The athlete or the man? Here's the kicker, the answer is none of the above. We wnt our children to be OUR heroes, live the lives we never could, be all that we could not be. Succeed where we failed. All in the name of wanting the best.
So here's to all the children, our role models. And all the parents, our devoted fans.