Will a real role model stand up?
By Chandler Myers
Athletes are many things in today’s world and sometimes it’s not the right thing.
With superstars in the news today getting busted with drugs, weapons and DUIs I sometimes wonder where all the good guys have gone.
The role models, the guys I use to watch on TV and wish I could be them for a day and if not be them, just to meet them face-to-face.
Each decade, in the last 40 years, has had at least one hero to step up in the face of adversity and conquer things no one thought they could do.
Some stand out more than others because of their struggle and some because of the heart they show.
I was watching the 2008 ESPY Awards Monday evening and saw several role models in that room who each conquered a different obstacle and I was amazed by each story that was told.
The first set of heroes that stepped up to receive an award are known throughout the world for the monumental courage they had at the 1968 Olympics.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the gold and bronze medals in the 200 meters and upon being medaled, held their fists high in the air as a sign of hope. The hope they wanted was to end racial inequality in the United States.
Smith and Carlos were immediately kicked off the Olympic team and faced years of criticism for their actions, but those actions were given the right celebration at the ESPY’s.
They were awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for courage and rightly deserved it as they gave hope to people all over the world that a change could be made.
Smith and Carlos gave hope to generations and gave children of that time a reason to reach for the stars and realize anything could happen.
The next great story told involved a professional football player who fought an uphill battle against his body and won.
On opening day of the 2007 NFL season Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett fractured and dislocated his spine attempting to make a tackle. He underwent surgery for four hours that day.
Everett was told he would more than likely never walk again by his doctors, but just days after the surgery began moving his arms, legs and wiggled his toes.
His prognosis immediately changed and doctors gave him hope that he would walk.
Everett never gave up and fought his way back and debuted his miraculous recovery at the Bills home finale against the New York Giants.
Everett was presented with the Jimmy V award for perseverance and even though he will never play football again, he should not be overlooked as a role model because of the strength he shows and hope he gives to people facing paralyzing injuries.
The last story and really my favorite of them all is the story of three softball players who came together when one of them needed all the help she could get.
Central Washington was playing Western Oregon in a conference match up when Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky stepped up to the plate.
Tucholsky’s goal her whole career was to hit a home run and after stepping to the plate she knocked one out of the park. As she rounded first base she missed the bag and blew her knee out.
She could not get up and no one on her team could touch her or her run would not count.
Out of nowhere Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace of Central Washington came to her aid and carried her around the basepath placing her feet down down on each base.
The run would lead to a victory for Western Oregon and a friendship for the three girls.
They won the ESPY for the Best Moment.
These three stories show that even with all the athletes making wrong choices there are still role models out there.
Role models that can teach young athletes around the world how to have sportsmanship and class.
I just hope that when I have a kid of my own someday there will still be stories like these to share.
Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or emailed at email@example.com