As a super student athlete, you are a role model. You are seen and admired by many people and some of these people want to be like you. Therefore, they will imitate some of your actions. What you do in and out of competition will sometimes be more significant compared to the same actions of other people. Because of the weight of influence on others that you carry, you have to be more cautious and responsible in what you do.
We are walking out of class tomorrow because they beat-up somebody last night. Are you going to walk out, too?
We are going to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem. Will you kneel, too?
These are examples of forms of protest or student athletes standing up for what they believe in.
Even though you have the right to protest or stand up for what you believe in, you still have to exercise responsibility in your choices of actions. This requires having a responsible attitude. Which means you develop a way of thinking where you consider consequences before you act.
It also means that if you choose to take a particular course of action, you must be prepared to deal with the outcomes. Especially, when it’s not what you desired or it’s unfavorable to you.
Remember, just because you feel something should happen never guarantees that it will happen.
Let’s take the above examples.
When you are posed with questions of these sorts, responsible thinking would involve you considering the answers to the following in making your decision on what to do.
Why am I protesting? Why am I choosing to protest this way?
How many games am I going to kneel at? How many classes am I going to walk out of?
Will my coaches, teachers, principal, fans, and parents agree with my actions? Why would they not agree? What can or will they do if they don’t agree?
Who does my protesting speak to? Who do I want to hear or receive the message I am trying to send? What do I specifically want them to do and when do I want it done?
What messages do I not want to send?
What if this does not work?
Will I get kicked off my team?
Will my reputation be damaged as an athlete? How will that affect my career? Will any school accept my behavior and want me to be a part of it?
Will it hurt me, my team or my school if people stop coming to the games?
What will I do if I get suspended from school?
Do I want others to do as I do? Will I want them to experience the same consequences, or worse, that I may experience?
Is there a potential of others being emotionally, physically, financially, or socially harmed? If so, is the risk worth my means of getting what I want?
Let me sum it up.
I encourage you to continue to stand up for your beliefs, but exercise responsibility. Ask yourself questions like, how long your protests will last, how do you want others to see you and respond to what you’re doing? What tangible results do you want? How will it affect your career? The answers to these questions will help eliminate surprises and help you prepare for life after you have made your choices.
Remember people, young and old, are watching and you are a role model.
Let me know what you think?
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About the Author: Geraline L. Handsome has developed a passion to help college athletes of team sports discover their identity. She is a former Women’s Basketball Player for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). There she earned a B.S. degree in chemistry/mathematics. She has a MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is an Environmental Scientist and the mother of two. She is also the author of the book Sins of One Woman’s Mind.
Geraline L. Handsome has developed the Creating the Super Athlete Course, a product designed to help parents and coaches help their athletes discover their identity by helping them develop attitudes that will enable them to perform better in their sport, in the classroom, and in public.