“Character: Doing the right thing when no one is looking”
Although this post was written in 2011, we thought it worth re-posting.
Having just finished watching countless bowl games and beginning to process the 2011 football season, I feel as frustrated as ever as I look at the character breakdowns in our student athletes across the country. Just Google “college football arrests” and get ready to stick your finger down your throat. Not to single out one institution, but one young man, when stopped by law enforcement, commented, “I don’t give a *#%#*, I play for (school)…and I’ll get out of it anyway.” Who is mentoring this kid who has accepted a full scholarship and represents that institution? I can just imagine what his GPA is.
I coach in Sacramento where one of our high school coaches was just arrested for his alleged relationship with a minor girl from his campus. Pile on top of all that, my gut tells me we are just on the tip of the iceberg in lies and cover-ups re: the Penn State fiasco.
Huskers, you did not go the season without character breakdowns either. The young men we watch and who paint their faces red or some other color owe us more. The coaches who coach them owe us a product we can be proud of. So you think I am being too judgmental? Don’t let yourselves off the hook. We play, coach, and watch the greatest game that God put on the face of the earth. The Super Bowl is nothing short of Christmas. The National Championship Game is now prime time. So I’d like to offer some light, some positives, in what we have become numb to.
The University of Hawaii’s quarterback is David Graves. Now I will admit that I know this young man and his family personally, but I will write about any kid who has the character that this kid demonstrates. I saw David last week at church with his family, as he was home on a short break. I happened to have a 7-year-old with me who we brought along that day. David Graves made this kid feel special just by talking to him and being interested in him. David asked the “What position do you play” questions and more importantly, he created “a moment” for this little guy.
This kid didn’t stand in line at the mall to meet Graves. He didn’t have to pay to go to his camp. He met Graves in church where Graves is very much at home. David will now ask me how the little guy is doing, and he’ll look for him this summer. My guess is the little dude will be wearing a Rainbow Warrior Football tee shirt as soon as I get Graves the kid’s size. David has created a memory, and he will be remembered by the experience that Graves took the time to make.
My guess is, David understands why he can’t get behind the wheel if he shouldn’t. He knows how to make the right decisions. I want to be around guys like David Graves. They bring me great pride, and I am a fan who has watched him growing into the man God intended. He may or may not be in the NFL (I wouldn’t bet against him), but who cares? David will be a success because he has character formed by a Mom and Dad who coached him well.
Here is even more to look forward to: David’s younger brother, Dano, just finished his freshman season as the quarterback at the Air Force Academy. That’s right, two brothers playing college football, both quarterbacks giving to others.
My hope is that you will not become numb to what we cheer for. We can demand more and set the bar higher. You can be a fan who comes and goes with little significance, or you can stand up, be heard and demand character from your chair. Do it by writing. Become a voice and make a difference. Maybe you will meet some student/athletes you can be proud of. Maybe you will meet David and Dano Graves. Refuse to cheer guys who tell law enforcement officers, “I am going to get out of it anyway.”
Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at www.ThePlaymakers.org.
Published on 01-22-2012