Need a Resolution? (Part III)

Tuesday, I began a series of blogs suggesting timely new years’ resolutions for us. Yesterday, I suggested the model the life you want others to live. Today’s post is huge and was sparked by a USA Today article in yesterday’s paper.

Like many of you — I like sports. I mean, I really like sports. At Growing Leaders, we work with dozens of high school, college and professional athletic teams across the country. I am a fan.

But have you evaluated American sports in 2010? So many of the big stories were embarrassing displays of immaturity and poor character. Just reflect for a moment…

The Tiger Woods saga became public in January. This squeaky clean athlete turned out to be a “rich teenager” when it came to girls and sex. He wanted it all.

Then we heard Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton of the Washington Wizards actually drew guns on each other in a locker room argument over a gambling debt.

Brett Favre was accused of sending cell phone photos of his private parts to a game hostess. Even if Brett were single, what ever happened to candy and flowers?

By spring, Georgia police investigated Ben Roethlisberger for sexual assault after an incident with a college student in the women’s room of a nightclub.

The NCAA threw the book at Southern California with a four-year probation and the removal of all athlete scholarships. Reggie Bush had to return his Heisman trophy.

A dozen North Carolina football players missed their opener at LSU as the NCAA investigated charges of academic impropriety and improper contact with agents.

Perhaps the year’s most haunting story came at the University of Virginia, where a men’s lacrosse player is charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of his former girlfriend, who played on the women’s lacrosse team.

Sadly, even the kids you love are suspects. In college football, folks question whether the Heisman trophy winner is an academic cheat who plays for the highest bidder. Will Cam Newton be asked to give the trophy back someday like Reggie Bush?

As 2011 begins, it promises more labor pains. The NFL and NBA could impose lockouts as they struggle to cobble together collective bargaining agreements. My definition of these disputes? It’s a bunch of millionaires arguing with a bunch of billionaires about money and rights. It’s a sad day we live in.

None of this means we’ll surrender our national obsession with games and with the athletes who play them. We’re too obsessed, but I will suggest a resolution.

• What if we actually celebrated character as much as we do wins?
• What if the players who modeled humility, community service and self-sacrifice got as much air-time as the “gods” listed above?
• What if we boycotted games that featured athletes with stories like those above — and we actually sent the message that while we love them — we won’t tolerate or pay large sums of money to arrogant pre-Madonnas?

Three years ago, the organization I lead, Growing Leaders created a program to develop character-based leaders on athletic teams. We call it: Habitudes® for Athletes. We believe athletes are people of influence, whether they are ready for it or not. We’re out to build quality people who happen to possess great talent on the athletic field. We now work with 16 NCAA D-1 athletic departments as well as dozens of high schools and small colleges, too. We love the excellent young men and women we see graduating from those schools. If you know of a school that may be interested in our program, have them check out:

Whatever you do, what do you think about the resolution?


Need a Resolution? (Part III)