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

Most NBA mock drafts had Miami Hurricanes guard Davon Reed going late in the second round of Thursda ...

University of Miami shooting guard Davon Reed will gather with friends and family in Ewing, New Jers ...

University of Miami great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp announced on Tuesday that he pl ...

The University of Miami continues to make a hard push for five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley of ...

The University of Miami’s 2018 football recruiting class, already ranked the best in the country by ...

UM female scientists share some insight on women in science, science in Hollywood and how Wonder Wom ...

Read the latest entries from UM students who are spending part or all of their summer visiting diffe ...

UM Student Affairs Advocacy Coordinator Heather Stevens has been awarded the William Leftwich Award ...

President Julio Frenk makes the case for collaboration at eMerge Americas. ...

UM College of Engineering Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet and alumnus Rony Abovitz share the stage in a disc ...

The Atlantic Coast and Big Ten Conferences announced Monday, the University of Miami men's bask ...

Three members of the University of Miami men's tennis players have been selected as All-ACC Aca ...

The University of Miami women's golf team had four individuals selected to the 2017 Atlantic Co ...

A freshman from Stratham, N.H., Rebecca Ripley of the Miami women's basketball team sat down wi ...

University of Miami standout Shakima Wimbley is headed to the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Londo ...

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.