A short essay on why athletes should pay attention to their behavior and media portrayal
| “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets .He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” This quote from long distance runner Emil Zatopek, who won four gold medals while representing Czechoslovakia during the 1952 Olympics, is a good example of what it takes to be an athlete, professional or otherwise. Pro athletes are often used as role models for young people and should be aware of their behavior and actions because of the message that could be sent out to the young people that look up to them. Many people who rise to become professional athletes get there through hard work, dedication, grit and determination. They are often used by coaches and parents alike as examples of what can be achieved with these things, especially if the athlete is placed on a pedestal by the media. However, many athletes fall prey to the pitfalls of becoming a celebrity. When they do, they can set a terrible message for those they should be setting good examples for.
It takes a great deal of hard work and training to become a professional athlete in any sport which is way parents and coaches often use pro athletes as examples for children. Athletes must practice and train all the time to keep in shape for their sport and keep their skills from getting rusty. It is for this reason that many sports teams have a training camp during the off season. This allows the athletes to refresh their skills and work out any kinks. Even during the off season, many athletes continue to keep up with their training to make sure that they’re in shape. This is because they need to remain in shape to participate in their sport. Student athletes often have practice during the summer to keep ready for the upcoming season. Many student athletes work hard at their sports in an effort to win scholarships to good colleges at which they can also continue to work at their sport. Some of them go on to become professional athletes themselves.
There are many athletes who do their best to set good examples and do so in many ways, even when they make mistakes. An example of this kind of pro athlete is US Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Michael Phelps. Phelps has won twenty-two gold medals and holds the all-time world record for gold medals. However, Phelps has seen his share of controversy. In 2009, he was arrested for a DUI in Maryland. Later that same year, a photo was published depicting him smoking marijuana. The picture caused him to lose several of his sponsors. Yet, Phelps didn’t let his fame go to his head and think he could brush it off. Instead, he owned up to his mistakes and admitted that he had in fact made mistakes. During an interview on the Today Show after his DUI arrest, Phelps apologized, saying,” definitely let myself down and my family down ... I think I let a lot of people in the country down”. He also publicly apologized after the photo was released. Although he made mistakes, Phelps didn’t try to use his fame to get out of trouble. Instead, he showed young athletes everywhere what good athletes should do when they make a mistake: apologize.
However, there are still some athletes who make mistakes and do nothing to correct them until it’s too late. One such example is Tiger Woods, a pro golfer with many titles under his belt. In 2009, it was revealed that he had been having extra marital affairs. In the days following, many of his sponsors ended their sponsorship deals. Although he did give a public apology, he said in the same apology that he had felt entitled because of his fame. It is this feeling of entitlement that often leads professional athletes astray. Due to this, many athletes, like Woods, believe that they can do what they want without consequences. They don’t stop to think about the consequences until it’s too late and the damage is irreparable.
Professional athletes are viewed as role models due to the determination, training and hard work it takes to become a professional athletes. They are placed in the spotlight by parents, coaches and the media to show young people the values of these things as well as sportsmanship. However, athletes, like everyone else, are only human and sometimes they make mistakes. Many athletes understand their positions as role models for young people and they will often move to correct the mistakes they make to show those same young people what should be done when a mistake is made. Despite this, there are still many other pro athletes who feel entitled to do what they want without thought to the message that is being sent out. Due to the media coverage they receive, these messages, good and bad, are seen by millions of young people around the world. Pro athletes should be aware of their behavior and the message they send out so that young athletes become good athletes, not bad ones.