Opinion

Hope for the modern-day sports idol

A couple of weeks ago, Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter broke his ankle.

Suddenly Mr. Dependable, the man known as Captain Clutch, was left writhing on the infield dirt in the Bronx.

It was in that moment that I realized something. I had just watched the last of a dying breed go down. The superstar athlete with a heart of gold. The good looking guy who dominated his sport and garnered national love.

The modern-day sports idol was dead. And frankly, I felt empty.

I can remember growing up with an idolatry of certain athletes that bordered on worship. It seemed that there were so many to choose from.

I stuck my tongue out when I played driveway basketball like Jordan. Anytime I would field a ball to my backhand in baseball, I always tried to execute the signature jump-throw that made Jeter famous. But there was one guy who it seemed like everybody loved above all else: Ken Griffey Jr. The smile, the hustle, the looping swing that sent baseballs screaming out of ballparks into near orbit. I never wanted it to end.

But all good things come to an end.

In the years since I first grew to worship sports, I’ve seen too many of my idols destroy their own image.

Recently Lance Armstrong was found guilty of what the U.S. Anti Doping Agency called “the most sophisticated doping program” they had ever seen. Does this make any of his charitable work for his Livestrong Foundation any less impressive? No. Does it tarnish his legacy? Yes.

Look around sports. Name one star that’s universally liked. Lebron could’ve been, but instead decided to alienate 90 percent of his fan base that doesn’t live in Miami. Tiger had a chance to be before crashing his Escalade and sleeping with every cocktail waitress between New York and Las Vegas.

However, there is hope. There appears to be a select few, a guild of young sport stars, fresh of face and with clean police records, willing and able to become sports idols in the truest sense of the word.

I’m talking about young athletes like Kevin Durant and Mike Trout, athletes barely out of high school with baby faces and superb talent, who have the ability to transcend their respective sports and become national icons who are universally loved.

So let this be an open letter to these select few young men:

Kevin Durant, please, don’t ever shoot your gun off into your wife’s house. Don’t gamble. If ever you’re a free agent, watch Lebron’s ESPN special “The Decision” and do the exact opposite. Mike Trout, if anyone ever asks you to take steroids, don’t take them.

And if Viagra calls looking for a spokesman, have some respect and block the call.

 

Robert Pursell is a senior majoring in journalism.

November 7, 2012

Reporters

Robert Pursell


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Hope for the modern-day sports idol”

  1. Jordan says:

    Peyton’s back, Mariano’ll be back, Jeter’ll be back, Lebron’s here, injuries happen, it’s the flow of the sports world. The sports legends will last longer due to modern medicine.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Closer Frankie Bartow stared into the Panthers’ dugout immediately after fanning the final batter of ...

Go ahead. Try telling former University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya that his critics say he gets ...

University of Miami redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Allison, who left the Hurricanes football pro ...

A six-pack of UM nuggets on a Tuesday: • UM receiver Dionte Mullins’ final statement this spring - i ...

The quarterback race at the University of Miami just got a lot tighter. Redshirt freshman Jack Allis ...

The period of the first 100 days in office is a telling gauge for a president's full term in th ...

UM students, staff and faculty join the worldwide march to end men’s violence against women. ...

Greek Week at the University of Miami is committed to raising money and awareness for United Cerebra ...

Carlos Bustamante, a Presidential Distinguished Scholar, kicked off his series of lectures about gen ...

Edward Abraham, M.D., has been named Dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Med ...

HurricaneSports.com caught up with Miami's current hardwood ProCanes. Here's where you can ...

A trio of Canes are represented in the polls, with Lomacki at No. 64 in the ITA Singles rankings and ...

The Miami women's tennis team has continued its rise up the ITA national rankings, checking in ...

Romy Gonzalez scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, and Miami held on for an 8-7 win over hos ...

University of Miami men's tennis team is set to start ACC Championship play Wednesday in Rome, ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.