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Monday, September 5, 2011

Paralympic Athletes ARE Role Models/Heroes in The Little Rednecks

I will eventually get around to discussing more writing stuff thingy's but today I'm gonna talk about athletes as role models and I wanna talk about it because it's something important regarding the main characters in my debut middle grade novel. I have never been keen on children using athletes as role models and my opinion is based soley on the current state of professional athletes, especially in the the NFL (National Football League). I love football and I have always been a loyal die-hard Cincinnati Bengals fan and it didn't matter if they were 2-14 or 16-0. With that being said, I may not always stay a fan if things don't change. I'm tired of picking up the newspaper and seeing that another Bengal player has been arrested. When is it going to stop? To me, a role model should be about the character of the person, not the persons althletic ability to play a kids game and make millions of dollars while doing it. It is mind-boggling to me just how many repeat criminals are employed by the NFL and these same criminals have become role models for children everywhere. When will the NFL realize that there are more important things in life than winning? When will they realize that playing in the NFL should be an honor, not a God given right? There is NO zero-tolerance policy in the NFL although they claim to have one. How can there be? It disgusts me to see children cheering and wearing Michael Vick's jersey. How can this man, a man who committed some of the most barbaric, heinous, and unforgivable crimes against something as helpless as a dog, be forgiven so easily in the name of winning. It doesn't matter that he supposedly paid his debt to society because there are some crimes that are just unforgivable, period! The NFL as well as the Eagles should be ashamed of themselves. In my opinion, Michael Vick should have been banned for life from ever playing in the NFL and he should never be allowed to own another animal for as long as he lives. He doesn't deserve either one. As far as I'm concerned, he lost that honor. If in fact the NFL had a zero-tolerance policy - Michael Vick should have been the poster boy to prove it. They had a chance to show the world that character is much more important than athletic ability or the almighty dollar and they blew it. I don't have children, but if I did, I would introduce my children to the Paralympics. These are the athletes that I would want my children to have as role models. To become a Paralympian or Olympian, you have to have more than just a God given talent - You MUST HAVE character. In 2010 I watched an interview with Stephani Victor and Alana Nichols. It was right after they had won the silver and gold medal in skiing. It was also the time when Alana Nichols learned for the first time that she had become the only Paralympian ever to win gold in both the winter and summer Paralympics but the one thing that I got from that interview was something that both women said. Stephani Victor had tears in her eyes and her voice shook. She said, "Right after my accident, I found skiing and the very first time I ski'd, Ill never forget it, I fell and my first reaction was to open up the seatbelt and stand up and pick my monoski up but I forgot that my legs were gone and that's the freedom skiing gives me. It doesn't make me think about my legs or what I don't have or being in a chair. Skiing makes me think about what I can do and that I'm free. My husband who was my coach gave me my first lesson. He said to me, "There's no such thing as disabled skiing." And that's what I want to tell anyone out there who thinks that disabled sports is seperate. It's not seperate, we have less to work with to accomplish the same task. In my mind that means more abled." Alana then spoke to the young people. She said, "It wasn't too long ago that I was falling down everytime but I got back up. What I would say to the young people that are just getting into skiing, is keep on going, don't give up. Just keep going."
These two women are the epitome of what a role model should be. They have character, heart, perserverance, and dedication and that's what makes a true Paralympian/role model.  To see these ladies in action as well other Paralympians go to  I promise, you will not be dissapointed and the next time your child picks an athlete/role model that makes you want to cringe, introduce them to the Paralympics. These are althletes who are truly worthy of the word "rolemodel"