Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Best Role Model for Kids is an Active Parent

This week in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne expressed his disappointment with Tiger Woods.

In his annual media address prior to the opening round of the Master's, Payne acknowledged the greatness of Woods, the four time Green Jacket winner, but then went on to criticize Tiger rather harshly.

"We are not unaware of the significance of this week to a very special player, Tiger Woods," Payne said. "A man who in a brief 13 years clearly and emphatically proclaimed and proved his game to be worthy of the likes of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. As he ascended in our ranking of the world's great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort. But as he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here. It is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children."

For the record, I have always appreciated Tiger Woods for his work ethic, his competitiveness and for his commitment to excellence, but I never liked him. The intensity that makes him great was a turn off to me. The perfectly controlled, scripted and boring interviews, the yelling at fans or photographers for making noise, the use of profanity that accompanied some bad shots and the ignoring of fellow players showed me that he was not someone to totally revere.

My childhood hero growing up was Charlie Hustle (Pete Rose). Yep my childhood hero was an amphetamine popping, gambling addict, liar.

I also revered the great Roger Clemens. Yep, the one and only ex-future-hall-of-fame pitcher who took steroids, threw his own wife under the steriod bus and lied to congress to save his reputation.

I decided that the best role model for my kids is a dead role model. They can never disappoint you. Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, is the player I talk to my son about most. I never saw Lou Gehrig play, but I have read a lot about his legendary commitment to the game.

The Main Point:

I guess kids need heroes to emulate. Sports superstars show what is possible with hard work and dedication, but many fall short of hero status. Be your son's or daughter's hero by never saying no when they want to have a catch or shoot hoops. And make sure that you are in the stands to make eye contact with them when they do something special on the field or when they fail.

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