Professional athletes are visible. They’re in the “public eye”. Society will anoint some athletes to demi-god status, and fans will stop at nothing to be like them. Like it or not, professional athletes are role models.
Many are paid gazillions by companies who sell shoes, sports equipment, sports drinks, and even weight loss programs to use, or say they use, their product in the hope that those of us who have a few dollars in our pocket will buy what our favorite athlete is selling…uh…using.
In 1993, Charles Barkley torted, “I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.” Technically, Barkley is correct. In reality, whether it’s the fault of society or the athletes, they are influencers, examples, celebrities…and role models.
On one side of the ball, you’ve got athletes like Michael Vick, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Jose Canseco and Tiger Woods. All were at the top of their game, but most were better at handling tackles or tee boxes than temptation. They blew it…in some way…and the athlete who had everyone’s respect, lost it all.
On the other side of the ball, you’ve got this guy…some have called him “ol’ man winner”.
You may or may not have heard of him. That’s because he’s been doing it the right way.
And, for a long time.
On Tuesday, April 17, Moyer became the oldest player in MLB history to win a game. He’s 49 years, 150 days old. That’s just a bit younger than me.
Moyer was drafted in 1984 by the Chicago Cubs. In 2003, he made the All-Star team, and in 2008, in his 23rd season, he won his first World Series ring. After the series, his teammates had the mound dug up and it was given to Moyer.
According to MLB.com, Moyer said this about the historic win:
“For me to put that in front of the game really would be unfair to my teammates, unfair to myself. It would tell me also that my focus and my attention were in the wrong place.”
He has a deep appreciation for his teammates. But, what amazes me most is his humilty and gratitude for this experience. While he has certainly accomplished a personal milestone, he is still very aware that it is every ball player’s dream to play in the big leagues, in The Show.
In an interview with CNN, Moyer said this,
“It’s my life. It’s pretty much all I know. It’s pretty much all I’ve done my whole life. I’m still able to live the dream.”
Moyer has accomplished much in his MLB career; even more, his life off the field has been an example to everyone. He and his wife have 8 children, two of which are adopted from Guatemala. His foundation, The Moyer Foundation, has raised over $20 million to accomplish their goal of empowering children in distress. An example would be Camp Erin, created and funded by The Moyer Foundation. The popular ESPN show E:60 aired a documentary about Camp Erin, the reason that Moyer was led to create the camp, and effects it is having on children who have lost loved ones. Watch it. You’ll feel it way down inside.
So, if we throw this ball up in the air, which side do you want…Tiger’s or Jamie’s?
You don’t have to be 50 years-old to figure that one out.