Tag Archives: John Urschel

4 Great Sporting Role Models

With the 2015 NFL Kickoff Game on Sep 10 at Gillette Stadium between the New England Patriots and the Steelers, we had a lot of talk about football and its importance at home. The kids were playing Heroes and Rivals while we were vociferously talking about sports and our favorite sporting heroes.

No one will argue about the fact that sports are important for kids. It contributes to the development of the child’s mental and physical wellbeing. Role models are also very important, especially in these times when society’s structures are changing rapidly. When kids are young they naturally look up to the parents and caregivers as role models. As they grow, teachers become important influencers. All these influences help shape a child’s behaviour, how she or he handles relationships, and it also helps them make decisions. Ironically people also use online games to get kids interested in sports!

Over time children who need these early influences look outside the obvious circles to characters from books, TV personalities, sports personalities and sometimes even video games, for suitable role models. Sporting role models are some of the best for kids. This keeps them interested in sport, which is great to keep them healthy and fit. Sports teaches kids, fair play, losing gracefully, to get up and go after a fall, to build unexpected friendships, improves self-esteem among many other things.

Here’s a list of four great sporting role models for kids(even my wife might have a different list!):

Mia Hamm


“Mia Hamm signing an autograph” by momovieman – mia hamm and nomar garciaparra. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mia_Hamm_signing_an_autograph.jpg#/media/File:Mia_Hamm_signing_an_autograph.jpg

She is the most famous woman footballer(soccer for us). She is one of the two female footballers in the FIFA 100, commemorating the 125 greatest living soccer players.

Her first coach and father took a long time to let in to play. Until then she was a ball girl for her older brother and sister. Once she was let in, there was no holding her back.



“Pelé jump 1958” by Scanpix – svt.se. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pel%C3%A9_jump_1958.jpg#/media/File:Pel%C3%A9_jump_1958.jpg

He is just plain O Rei do Futebol, in Brazil his home country. It means The King of Football. Named after Edison, he got called Pele sometime in his career and the name stuck. He retired 1977 and ever since has been a worldwide ambassador for football.

John Urschel 

John Urschel

Image Credit:


This 6-foot-3, 308-pound top notch offensive guard who plays for the Baltimore Ravens, absolutely loves math. In fact he published a very difficult to understand paper in mathematics.

He might not make it to the list of a top tier role model yet, but I like the fact that he is the great mathlete of football. He is young, tenacious, committed, patient enough to visit schools, and understands how important it is to share all this with younger folk.

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay


“StangoAli” by John Stango. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StangoAli.jpg#/media/File:StangoAli.jpg

He is one of the world’s greatest boxers. Nicknamed ‘The Greatest’ he is one of the most recognized sports figures in the last 100 years. Crowned ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by Sports Illustrated, he became the World Heavyweight Champion at the young age of 22.

Who do you think are great sporting heroes who would make great role models?


The Mathlete in Football


Image Credit: http://www.footballfoundation.org/tabid/567/Article/54652/John-Urschel-Makes-Draft-Predictions-for-ESPN-The-Magazine.aspx

Q: Which footballer is 6 feet 3 inches tall and is a 308-pound offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL?

Q: Which footballer tweets ‘Happy Pi Day!’?

Q Which footballer wrote unabashedly, ‘…I love hitting people..’

A.: John Urschel

Followers of football might not know that he has completed 1o seasons and at the end of every season, his mother has had a conversation with him about leaving the sport. She is afraid. Afraid he will become a statistic in the world of brain injuries. After Chris Borland, quit saying he was concerned about brain injuries, at the age of 24, one wonders if Jean Urschel made a wise decision to stay. His mother also knows that he has another whole world waiting for him – the world of mathematics. To be fair he does straddle the words of mathematics and football, with great élan, because he loves both.

He feels a lot of kids who don’t like mathematics or those who feel they do not have a flair for mathematics, pick up and get comfortable with math as they play fantasy football and other mathematical games. He feels math helps in decision making and problem solving. In his own words –

One of the most important components of being an elite athlete is to be able to see something, take that information at an instant, and make a split second decision, and make sure it is the right decision. This is something that requires great intelligence and it requires fast twitch brain muscles. Not just fast twitch running jumping hitting. Fast twitch thinking, which mathematics trains.

A jock who loves mathematics – that is a rarity. May his wish to be a titled player come true. Good Luck!