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Bull Models

Feb 3, 2009



I'm sure many of you have read or heard about the recent flap with Michael Phelps after a photo of him with abong surfaced. Phelps ended up issuing a big apology for his actions, and as learned more about this I couldn't help thinking that this seemed an awful lot of attention over something pretty stupid. Then I read this article today and decided to post some thoughts on it.

In some ways, this all goes back to the whole 'role model athlete' idea. Those who make it big in professional sports are supposed to be 'role models' for kids, or some nonsense like that. I've always thought this was a pretty silly notion, pointing to a famous athlete and saying, "Now Johnny, be like him!"

Sure, there's a good reason to point to someone successful and tell your kid to strive for that, but isn't the idea of the 'role model athlete' a bit much? Are you really sure that having your child think he can be Michael Jordan is a good thing? The problem with many of the finer examples of athleticism is that they're so rare. For every Michael Phelps you have a Dennis Rodman, for every Michael Jordan a John Rocker.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, makes sense as a person to try to emulate. It's highly unlikely you'll be President, but the effort to get there will still put you ahead in life. Studying, working hard, community service...all good things to be a part of. Trying to be a pro football player, though? Well, hope you don't blow that knee or be driven so hard in a school practice that you die. And even if you work really really hard, without the natural gifts most top athletes have, you probably won't make it.

I'm not saying I'm against sports, they can be great socializing activities and they do contribute to a pursuit of excellence. What I am saying is that we need to stop making these people out to be above the rest of us in anything other than what's on the playing field (or swimming pool.)  Michael Phelps, the top gold winning Olympian of all time, should not have to apologize for smoking pot. It's his life, let him do what he wants.
 
Joe


Lando
nine and a half years ago

Gustaria in the context of the sentence is, would like. Me, is me, and gustaria is, would like. \"I would like to know your opinion concerning the difference between luck and circumstance\" is the basic translation of the sentence starting at the first coma. What\'s sad is that English is my second language, I learned spanish first growing up. But now, after speaking english all my life and all the fucking degrees, I\'ve just started to lose it. I can still think in spanish though, and as long as you can think in another language, you can always regain your fluency. Learning to think in new symbols is the hardest thing to do in language. After a certain age it becomes nearly impossible to learn to think in another language. You\'ll always just be translating quickly in your head. I had lucky circumstances, lol.

Dave (UK)
nine and a half years ago

Got it. Ta V. much. Time to start listening to that showtime spanish stuff I keep downloading methinks.

Dave (UK)
nine and a half years ago

He just wants to give everyone else a chance next time round, unless of course someone\'s dangling chocolate on the end of bass line. Then he\'s a drugs cheat!

Conquistador
nine and a half years ago

Lando me parece que estas confundido, me gustaria saber tu opinion sobre la diferencia entre la suerte y circumstancia?

best.

Lando
nine and a half years ago

Circumstance is what people label bad luck. If everything works in my favor, I\'m lucky. If everything goes wrong, I\'m a victim of circumstance.

Dave (UK)
nine and a half years ago

Even good luck is being a victim of circumstance surely.

My babel fish is broken, what the hell\'s a \"gustaria\"?

Lando
nine and a half years ago

The problem is that we equate success with the best course. An athlete is successful, therefore, that must be the best path to follow...right? Athletes, like many professions, depend heavily on luck as much as they do on hard work. I know that sounds like a very trite view of the world but you need skill, hard work and luck to get anywhere. Luck is being born 8 feet tall, because the NBA will love you. Luck is getting your manuscript on an editors desk the day they are having a good day. Luck is getting the flu the morning of 9/11 and not going into work on the 80th floor of the Towers. Luck. Phelps worked hard, lucked out with the right training and the right coaches and ended up at the Olympics at the right time to do amazing things. Luck does not detract, but it is a component to life. It\'s the whole two inches to the left idea. Two inches to the left and I would be dead, but I\'m not, I\'m very lucky. Because its luck doesn\'t mean I\'m any less alive. Because Phelps had some luck along the way doesn\'t change the fact that he is a true Olympian. As for the media coverage, well, the media loves to tear down idols. They love nothing more than to elevate a person only to find every flaw and then report on it endlessly. Phelps was an Olympian god, now he\'s just some pot smoking degenerate, right? Right? Right? We are all human, and all have flaws. If tomorrow there were pictures of Phelps having sex with an 8 years old, I would be pissed and call for his head. If tomorrow however I see more pictures of Phelps smoking weed, well, grow up guys. We all shit, we all puke, we all fuck up, we all make mistakes, and we all like to unwind in our own way. Any of us held to the microscope will not be very shiny under the media\'s scrutiny. Phelps is still an Olympian god for his abilities, and he should be judged within the realm of his abilities, as a swimmer. Because, and this is a common misconception, being a swimming Olympian god does not make you a saint, or a great writer, or a great singer, or the Buddha, or Darth Maul, or that guys who saves everyone at the end of the movie. It makes you a good swimmer. Micheal Jordan was a great basketball player, and now he\'s a great business man, bravo! I\'m not taking life advice from him, and he sucked at baseball. Chose your idols based on the things you love but you don\'t need them. Examples always bored me in class.

\"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.\" W. Shakespeare