A few years ago, I was at a networking event in downtown San Diego and I had an executive tell me that he thought you could count the positive role models left in sports on one hand. I immediately pointed out that 30 Major League Baseball players had been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough positive role models in sports, it’s that we don’t hear enough about them and instead we hear about scandals, steroids, affairs, and police reports. So on a weekend that reminds me how much coverage those negative stories get (I’m not going to bother mentioning the headlining story, but you all know what it is and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more events unfolding for weeks after this), I wanted to make sure that the world knows that both AL MVP Joe Mauer and NL MVP Albert Pujols were their teams nominees for the 2009 Clemente Award and that Derek Jeter won it this year in addition to his fifth World Series ring. Here’s MLB’s page on the Clemente Award and the full list of nominees. You can click on each nominee to find out why he was nominated.
I also wanted to share two more links. The first is a story on NBA player, Baron Davis. I used this story to teach minor league players more about perspective this year and I think it’s a great example of how an athlete’s identity shouldn’t just be as an athlete. The quote that really sticks with me is from his grandma, who asked him when he was growing up, “If I take that ball away, who are you?”
The second link is a story about Pirates pitcher, and a former client, Ross Ohlendorf. Ross is doing an internship with the Department of Agriculture in DC this winter after earning 11 victories in his first full season as a starting pitcher in the big leagues.
There are plenty of positive role models in baseball and in all sports that we can all learn from. Let’s make sure that their stories get heard and that we continue to develop character on and off the field in the athletes we teach and coach.
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Geoff Miller’s book, Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game — in Baseball and in Life, will be released in August, 2012. For more information and free sample chapters, please visit:
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