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Are Athletes Role Models?

             Lately, a topic of great controversy has been whether or not athletes should be looked .
             Does an athletes" responsibilities pertain solely to his .
             performance on the field of play or does it also extend to his personal life as well? There .
             are many who claim that it is wrong for a sophisticated society to impose a set of .
             behavioral expectations on fallible people who just so happen to excel in sports. Some .
             players themselves agree with the fact that they do not and don't expect to be considered .
             role models, such as stated at a press conference by Charles Barkley .
             (www.yaleherald.com/archive/xx/9.8.95/sports/mantle.html). It is my argument that .
             athletes are not only role models but, in today's media driven world, it is their .
             responsibility to exhibit extraordinary judgment and exemplary actions off the field as .
             well. .
             From the beginning of time, man has looked outside of himself for examples of strength, .
             leadership, and guidance. For heroes. Perhaps it is an acknowledgement of a human flaw. .
             Even the mythological gods possessed powers beyond those of mortal men. Legends are .
             told of men with superhuman strength, endurance, and wisdom. So why would it not .
             seem natural for that same kind of idolatry to be transferred to other human beings with .
             ultra human physical traits? Even fictional characters such as Superman and Paul Bunion .
             had such enormous strength that their contemporaries held them in higher esteem than .
             any mortal. Idealizing may be a sign of a human flaw, but it is natural for someone to see .
             a character performing extraordinary feats and pretend, even for the slightest moment, .
             that themselves have that kind of power. This is the reason why our civilization is so .
             drawn to sport figures, because we see people who are mortal and similar to us do things .
             with their body that we cannot do. As children, we all ran and swam and played ball so .
             we can personally appreciate the difficulty of performing to such high degrees of .

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