Chosing your role models carefully

March 20th, 2007

Many people are under the impression that because someone plays sport for their country or they play sport at an elite level, they are automatically role models for our kids to follow. I do not agree with this line of thinking.

I think we need to realise that sports people are no different to anyone else in society. They are very good in some areas of their lives and in other areas they might struggle. No-one is perfect and not everyone is up to being a role model. We are currently seeing this being played out in a local AFL club where a number of players have had personal problems recently.

For example, if you work with 50 accountants, not all of them are role models. There might actually be about five or six who you might like to model yourself. This is because they display good skills, knowledge of their field, they have good interpersonal skills and they work in a professional way. I believe the same goes for our elite sports people. Out of a team of 42 players there might only be a handful that fit the role model category.

Here are some of my thoughts on what makes a good role model for our kids:

  • Are they very good at their chosen sport?
  • Do they perform in a professional manner both on and off the field?
  • Have they overcome some sort of adversity? ie major injury or personal problems
  • Are they interested in community service?
  • Do they train and mentor younger people coming through?
  • Are they preparing for life after their chosen sporting career finishes?