Giving Back as an Athlete


In a world of war and economic crisis, sport will always be there.   For fans, it is a sense of escape from problems.   It is a chance to cheer for something you truly believe in when everything around you is falling apart.   For an athlete, it is just another day at the office.   Just as some of us put on a suit and tie and heads to their cubical to analyze some financial stocks, professional athletes put that uniform on with the home town name across the chest and hit jumpers, catch footballs or hit homeruns.   Kids buy their jerseys, idolize them and try to be them on the playground.   Their numbers and highlights are followed religiously and people treat them like gods both on and off their respective fields.   Off the fields, the professional athletes are just like any other human being, but people continue to look up to them and want to interact with them.   Whether or not the professional athlete likes it, he or she is a role model and they must use this label as a means to help improve the youth that follows them so closely.   Many athletes believe that it is the obligation of a professional athlete to give back.   Mario Lemieux former NHL player and now owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins said,
I tend to believe that athletes should give back to their communities because their communities have given so much to them. I was blessed to be able to play and now own a franchise in the NHL. The sport of hockey and the city of Pittsburgh has opened many doors for me, so I want to give back so others can have success as well.   (Anonymous, 2009)

But what does it mean to give back?   Start a charity?   Donate money in your name to a cause?   Be part of a Make A Wish dream?   Do a meet and greet at a local business?   When asked about giving back to the community, Warrick Dunn said,
For me it’s really all about passion. If I can feel it then I can live it. A person doesn’t always have to give a lot of money or aim to have a widespread impact to be philanthropic.…...