“I am not a Role Model”

This Summer my boys and I were watching a game between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox!  It was a game worth forgetting if you’re a Rangers Fan, as they ended up on the wrong end of a 19-2 score.  But this game has been stuck in my mind all Summer because of something that happened on the field that night.

Chicago outfielder Alex Rios made what appeared to be a sliding catch on a line drive hit to right field.  As he came to his feet claiming to have made the third out, the umpires met to discuss the play.  After reviewing the video replay, the umpires (and TV viewers everywhere) saw that not only did Alex Rios not catch the ball, it wasn’t even close!  The ball landed several feet in front of the right fielder.  Alex Rios knew he didn’t catch that ball.

Being the Twitter Nerd I am, I sent out this tweet regarding Rios and what I thought about his character:

Soon after, I found myself in a Twitter conversation with several others about the expectation of athletes to also be role models.  Their argument:

The YouTube link in the tweet is a video of a kid asking Alex Rios for his autograph while he was at an evening event.  Not only would Rios not give the kid an autograph, his language was offensive and inappropriate.  Definitely not the role model I want for my kids!

Are athletes Role Models?  Can athletes choose to be Role Models? Or are Role Models chosen?

I’m reminded of a Nike commercial from the early ’90’s, where Charles Barkley boldly claimed, “I am not a role model.”  

I get it Sir Charles.  You’re telling kids to look up to their parents, teachers, and others.  But can you really tell kids not to look up to you?  Can you really say, “Watch me play basketball, but pay no attention to my daily life?” And Alex Rios, can you say, “Watch me play baseball, but pay no attention to me when I display my true character?”

I don’t believe we choose to be role models.  I believe others choose it for us!  We can only choose what kind of role model we will be.  Trust me, someone, somewhere, has chosen you to be their role model.  Someone looks up to you.  Someone is watching every move you make!  And the scary part is, the type of Role Model you choose to be will shape that person’s life forever.

My goal as a first year administrator is to be a great Role Model; to my kids at home, students at school, teachers, parents, staff, and fellow administrators.  I want to base my daily decisions on that goal and always ask myself, “What kind of Role Model am I right now?”

Oh, and Alex Rios, you’re baseball skills are awe inspiring; you’re Role Modeling skills however, could use some work!

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3 thoughts on ““I am not a Role Model”

  1. You might be my son but you are my role model. You are a wonderful dad, teacher and now I am sure you will be a great administrator. They are so lucky to have you.

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