In praise of a good role model in the world of sports

By Tom Quiner

UnknownBad boys abound in the world of sports.
In today’s sports section, I was struck by the juxtaposition of two articles which described two very different athletes.
One was about a “bad boy”, Aldon Smith,  the talented linebacker of the San Francisco 49ers. As reported in the U.S. Today by Jarrett Bell, Mr. Smith has quite a rap sheet for a 24 year old man:

“Two DUI arrests, one reduced to reckless driving and the other pending. Three felony weapons charges, pending. One inglorious, megahouse party two summers ago, when two people were shot and Smith allegedly fired a bullet into the air and ended up suffering multiple stab wounds.
Now another episode: Smith was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, alleged to have uttered something about a bomb after being selected by a TSA agent for a security screening.”

We’ll let the police deal with Mr. Smith, another in a long line of poor role-models in professional sports.
Let us instead savor for another day the triumph of a “good boy”, Bubba Watson, who is a positive role-model for boys, young men, and

Bubba and Caleb Watson

Bubba and Caleb Watson

men everywhere. Mr. Watson won the Masters on Sunday for the second time, as Quiner’s Diner wrote about on Monday (“Christian golfer, Bubba Watson, wins the Masters … again”), and as reported by the U.S. Today in a piece next to the one on Aldon Smith.
Watson’s post-victory comments weren’t just focused on himself, they veered into what life is all about: giving. He talked about his desire to give of himself to his adopted son, Caleb. He talked about how failure made him stronger after blowing a short putt in February to blow a tournament:

“I could have pouted and been angry for a while, but I went to L.A. two weeks later and won [the Northern Trust Open]. Because I didn’t get mad in Phoenix. I was blessed to have come in second place. You have to strive to feel that way, and I think, over the past two years, when I became a family man, and working on my family life as much as my golf life, I’ve gotten much better. That perspective, being a dad, being a better husband, is important.
Every day I try to get better as a father. It’s like golf, I guess. It takes practice. If I become a better husband, the part of being a better father will shine through. I’m giving my wife the best I have to offer her, let her have time to herself, to rest, and she loves to see me play with our son. That makes her smile.
 Who wants to change a dirty diaper, you know what I’m saying? But now changing diapers doesn’t bother me. That’s my boy. I’ll do anything for him. But at first all these thoughts go through your head. Caleb has changed me personality, changed who I am and hopefully made me a better person.”

Watson will do anything for his wife and son.
This Christian golfer is modeling his faith through agape’, or sacrificial, love that is at the heart of Christ’s sacrifice for Man.
Good Friday is approaching. If God could sacrifice His only Son, if Jesus could give up His life in an excruciating way for a bunch of sinners like me, you, and Bubba Watson, perhaps we can be more sacrificial, more giving with each other.
Bubba Watson is one of the good guys in sports. Let us hold his example up at the same time we pray for the Aldon Smiths of the world who need positive role models in their lives.