When I was a young athlete with aspiring dreams of becoming successful in my future, I had always looked up to those athletes who have reached that success. I was motivated by them and wanted to be like them. It was even more special to meet a celebrity athlete in person. Some were very nice and welcoming but there were others who were not so nice and actually mean and rude. What a blow that is to the aspiring athlete. Young people need positives in their lives, especially in this very complex and crazy world we live in today. In this post, I will share my thoughts on the importance of successful athletes presenting themselves in a positive and motivation nature and why they should Share Their Success.
All young athletes are excited to watch their favorite teams and sports hero’s on the television or at a game or event. The young person may have aspirations to be just like their hero someday. We, as coaches or parents, see this in our children and it is exciting to watch and feel their excitement. These sports hero’s are considered celebrities in their sports field and they should have an obligation to share their success and stories to not only promote their sport, but to encourage the up and coming athletes who would like to reach the same success someday.
A common trap that success brings to a person is the trap of becoming arrogant. It is very common and infects those that have reached a status of greatness. The person may not even realize that this behavior has developed. However, there are those that are well aware of their arrogance but do not care what people think. This is very disappointing and a shame. This type of person with this type of attitude can crush a young person’s idea of who they thought they were. It is natural and deserved for a celebrity sports athlete to be proud of their accomplishments. They not only have the right, but also a desire to showcase their success – but it should be done in a positive and welcoming manner.
As a young athlete in the sport of gymnastics, I found success early in my competitive career. In middle and high school, I was winning most of the competitions I participated in and developed a reputation of the one to beat. I was gaining recognition throughout the schools and became popular. I fell into the arrogance trap- and I had no idea I was acting that way. One day in High School, my older brother approached me and said “you have become extremely stuck-up and you are losing most of your friends and I am one of them”. Wow, that hit me hard!! It truly was the slap in the face I needed to redirect my actions. What is the world without friends and people to care about you? I did not want to live that type of existence. And no one should!!
From that moment on, I focused on treating people with respect. If someone complimented me, I made it a point to always thank them. I began to develop an attitude that it was a privilege to be successful and recognized for it. I also was in a serious development stage in my gymnastics career and had my own hero’s I looked up to for motivation. I had posters of the worlds best gymnasts pinned to my wall, most were USA Olympic Team members. I looked up to those athletes on my wall and wanted to be just like them. I had an opportunity to meet several of my hero’s in person while attending gymnastics competitions and my excitement was extreme. All were very nice and took the time to say a few words. This was priceless for me.
As my success in sports continued to grow, the demands for my appearance became greater. I was asked to participate in special clinics and camps. I was hired as a motivational speaker to sports and professional groups. It was important that I presented myself in a positive and welcoming manner. I cared about what people thought of me and I wanted to do the best I could to inspire and motivate others. Throughout my experiences, however, I have met other successful athletes, some with a high celebrity status, that had a disgusting sense of arrogance. I would hear people comment on how disappointed they were in the person’s attitude. Not only did this have an effect on me in hoping people don’t feel the same way about my behavior, but what is the likelihood that person would be invited back?
Having reached success in my career as an athlete, I make it a priority to mentor and help young athletes reach their own dreams of success. It is great to see so many other successful athletes do their part in the same manner. To be recognized as someone of importance is truly an honor and that person has an obligation to share their own stories of success with all that will listen. Not all participants will reach success in sports, and the fact is that only a very small percentage will ever reach a high level of success. But they all dream of it and they need to be encouraged and motivated. The celebrity athlete can do that for them. They need to Share their Success!!