The Richmond Times-Dispatch published the results of a survey recently of young women on which athlete they looked up to or most admired. They asked health instructors and sports coaches at 10 area middle and high schools to facilitate the survey and got responses from almost 1,000 girls. Luckily, the most popular response was an acquaintance or family member. To round out the top 10 they chose: Michael Phelps, Candace Parker (of Tennessee Basketball fame), Kobe Bryant, David Beckham (of Posh Spice fame), Lebron James, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, and Venus and Serena Williams at numbers 3 and 2. It made us think about who we would choose as a role model.
Phelps is a good choice. 8 Olympic gold medals. There was some bad press about him, but you can’t argue with his ability and he does a great deal to give back. Lebron and Becks? Both are star players who bring excitement to their sports. Many, though, would consider them attention greedy moneygrubbers who take some love out of their games.
Mia and the Sister’s Williams are solid choices. Venus and Serena have arguably changed the way women play tennis and have certainly moved forward the bar set by Arthur Ashe. Mia Hamm is one of our favorites for really helping to put women’s soccer on the map.
Is it harder to choose a sports idol now? As a kid we wanted to throw like Sonny J. Dad was a retired D.C. cop and told some colorful stories about Sonny celebrating wins in some of his favorite haunts. This would instantly end up on TMZ or YouTube these days.
Billy Crystal did a great job with his movie “61” about the home run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Crystal doesn’t shy from the fact that Mantle had some flaws and dings in his armor. Which moviemaker is going to step up to the plate and film the biopic of Roger Clemons and Barry Bonds in 40 years?