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 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.
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?