Touchdowns and Role Models
Football has always been my favorite when it comes to sports. And since I was a little kid, the team for me has been the Pittsurgh Steelers. From the tail end of the 70s dynasty that included Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Greene and Jack Lambert, to the to resurgence of the 90s that included Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward, and the new championships of today, I have been a loyal follower through it all. But, my wife and pretty much her entire family are New York Giants fans. And when our daughter was born, they all vowed to make Meghan a Giants fan as well. While there might be strength in numbers, however, there is nothing stronger than a father's bond with his daughter. And with very little pushing from me (at least that is my story), Meghan became a Steelers fan.
Watching Steelers games together over the years has become a Sunday ritual for Meg and me. Super Bowl hats and Terrible Towels hang in her room. Though I didn't get to see the Steelers actually play in Pittsburgh until I was 27 years old, Meghan was there when she was 4. Now whether you follow sports or not, you have probably heard that the Steeler's quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has been in a whole lot of trouble recently. Not just any old kind of trouble. “Big Ben” has been accused of sexually assaulting two different women on two different occasions. He also happens to be Meghan's favorite player. I used to joke that Meghan could say Roethlisberger before she could say mommy or daddy. That's not too far from the truth.
So what do you tell a 6 year old when she asks why her favorite player on the team has been suspended? It seems like more and more often, high-profile athletes are getting into one form of trouble or another. I wonder if these athletes realize the effect that their actions have on the fans who look up to them. Especially the young and impressionable ones. Situations like the concern surrounding Roethlisberger remind me that, as parents, we can't assume a famous person is also a proper role model. I work hard every day to give Meghan a person whom she can always look up to and always be proud of. I hope that Roethlisberger gets his head on straight soon though. If not, Meghan won't be watching him on Sundays anymore. Even worse, she might have to start rooting for the Giants (shudder).