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Athlete’s Responsibility to Be Role Models

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A role model is an exemplary person whose character and trends can be emulated by others. They are usually people with qualities that others wish to have. Furthermore, they affect people’s lives in a way that gives the urge to be better individuals in the society. It is necessary for an individual to notice their own growth and progress before recognizing who their role models are. More often than not, role models are individuals with public status (Bush 2012).

Athletes provide a compelling example of people with the capacity to affect others’ life through their actions while in public. This paper explores the responsibility of the athlete to be a role model. Sports have played a crucial role in society since time immemorial. From the time of the Greeks, sportsmen and especially athletes have always had an immense influence on society. This is because athletics commands a wide followership all over the world. Therefore, athletes need to act as positive role models.

To begin with, sport is an activity associated with various physical and mental characteristics. Sports, especially athletics, relates to endurance, superb physical health as well as talent. Therefore, for as long as sports exists, athletes will always be seen as role models due to the relation to superb physical conditions and talent (Paige 2012).

Many children look up to professional athletes for guidance and as role models. In fact, a survey done in 1995 by Sports Illustrated for Kids showed that over 95% of children aged 7-12 years of age had professional athletes as their role models who they mostly imitate. Only 4% of the children chose their parents as role models. It is due to media exposure that the athletes are constantly in the public eye. The media tend to follow up on them, depicting to the whole world what they do on and off the field. Many athletes take advantage of this status quo to speak out positive messages. Because of their fame, the athletes can participate in beneficial meetings that advocate such virtues as teamwork, endurance and the need for organization.

Successful athletes earn a considerable amount of money. In order to give back to the society, the athletes could participate in charity events that aim at sustaining different institutions. Athletes who participate in such events influence other affluent individuals and implore them to undertake such modest activities. Athletes traditionally exhibit high level of teamwork. Since athletes normally represent either an institution or the entire country, through teamwork of the entire group the athlete feels encouraged to work together as a team. This responsibility of the athletes clearly shows the advantage of working together as a team to reach a common goal (Resnick 2012).

Dedication and motivation are other virtues, which while depicted by athletes can influence the world positively. The individuals with athlete role models will follow suit and portray similar characteristics in their actions. They will see the need to be dedicated in order to win and inspire those who have done well for even better results.

There are also those who choose to engage into sporting activities in an attempt to emulate their role models. Research has found out that such individuals have minimal cases of obesity and are less likely to be involved in drug abuse (mostly in the case of teenagers) due to their high self-esteem.

Despite all the discussed responsibilities of the athlete as a role model, the suitability of athletes as role models of the younger generation is quite disputable. This challenge arises from the action of errant athletes who engage in sporting vices. Such athletes care for nothing else other than their careers, remuneration and contracts.

Athletes are mostly in the limelight and their responses to different situations may always end up receiving the unwarranted publicization. Infuriated coaches and fellow team members act in despicable ways when things fail to go their way, yelling and sometimes even fighting with no respect to the present spectators or fellow teammates. When annoyed by their opponents, some athletes choose to respond aggressively by becoming violent. It is because of such acts that people question the efficiency and reliability of an athlete acting as a role model. Substance abuse and domestic violence are some of the other negative traits that are common among other athletes (Tanber & George 2012).

Considering everything, athletes have the capacity to influence positively the lives of many people. Athletes, therefore, need to focus on the responsibility bestowed upon them. They should perform the behavior that can be patterned by all. Additionally, they should avoid any unnecessary actions that may lead to degradation of the athlete’s social status.

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