“I believe the true athletes should have character, not be a character” is a famous quote by the great U.C.L.A. Bruins basketball coach John Wooden. When I hear the names of athletes like Michael Jordan, John Elway, and Cal Ripken Jr. I think of hard working, dedicated sports stars that were known for their character on and off the playing field. When I think of athletes, such as Dennis Rodman, Terrell Owens, and Ricky Williams I think of how they act with their outlandish celebrations on the field or off the field with their crazy hair dos and complaining about not getting the ball enough. These guys lack character. They care more about their personal goals than about the team’s success.
A true athlete does what it takes for the team to be successful whether switching positions, sitting the bench, or taking a pay cut for the good of the team. Take a look back at which teams have won sports championships in the past. These were teams with character and that played as a team. The players did not care who scored the points or who got the credit, they cared about was winning.
A true athlete with character is a true teammate who does not backstab his teammates or complain about their play. They are supportive of their teammates no matter what. A teammate without character is a cancer to his team, he or she complains and brings the team down with negativity.
On my football team this past fall, we had a very successful season because we played together and had character. We were good teammates to each other and always had each other’s backs no matter what. When someone made a mistake, we did not get down on the player we told him “to get it next time.” Our team would not have won our league championship if we did not have character on our team. Without character we would have played as a bunch of characterless individuals.
The next time you watch a sporting event, look for the athletes with character. These athletes might be hard to find because some of them tend to stay out of the spotlight, but you can spot them by their actions. These athletes will not be showboating after they make a good play; they will go back to their huddle without taunting their opponents. All athletes should look up to these real “professional” athletes. I believe true athletes aren’t characters they have character.
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