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Athletes as Role Models

             In today's world, sport stars and other athletes are looked up to by all ages. They look great in the eyes of the everyday public. They appear on television, they perform like rock stars, and do this with the entire world watching. No wonder we make heroes out of our favorites. They are seen, as heroes because they can do things that most of us can't. They hit fastballs at 95 mph, leap at balls in mid air, or defy gravity and throw down a dunk. Their words are repeated and broadcasted throughout the world and their faces have appeared on the front of cereal boxes. But if you examine athletes while they"re not on the court or on the field, you can see what they are like in every dimension. Athletes have many positive and negative sides that affect their public face and both benefit and harm their abilities to become role models. The athlete as role model is by no means a new issue. In fact it is quite ancient. As distant as 800 B.C., when the Olympics were first played in Greece, the athletes all paid homage to the Greek God Zeus. Olympia was originally on the sacred site of Gaia. Sports were started as a religious ritual and the athlete was considered a demi-god, representing both the spectator and the gods. In Roman times 2000 years ago, athletes represented the state during the gladiator games and chariot races. They were seen as soldiers who reassured the citizen that the nation was strong. Today, athletes are not considered to be religious figures but nonetheless are accorded great material wealth, privilege, and fame. These figures are visible to us on a weekly basis. Because of their talent, salary, and positions as leaders, it's inevitable that we admire and identify them with such integrity (Ferraro). Courage and determination aren't the only lessons we can learn from successful athletes. Some of the best athletes in history are the ones who can take their achievements in stride. You have to love a sport in order to do it well.

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