"I'm not paid to be a role model. I'm paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court." - Charles Barkley
Well I decided to start today with a rather random quote for Charles Barkley.
The only reason why I start with that today, is because, one, someone mentioned it to me the other day, and two, well, he is wrong, and I am going to tell you why.
For anyone who becomes part of the public eye, that almost becomes your job, to become a role model, but, I have thought about this a little more and thought I would take it to the next level.
I wouldn't necessarily call myself a role model, I would much rather like to be called a friend.
I have not made it a secret that I keep in touch with several players on numerous teams around the coverage area. I feel this is one of the most important parts of the job, I'll explain. The closer you are to the athlete, the more they trust you, the more comfortable they are with you in interviews, and vice versa, the more comfortable you can be with them in interviews.
I am sure that everyone has their own thoughts on this, and that is fine. Sometimes, i feel like we get caught up on talking about certain players, teams, and for the most part we treat everyone as if they were already in college or in the pros.
Now, from an on air stand point there is nothing wrong with that because it makes the "on air product" that much more enjoyable for the viewer.
But I'd much rather get to know everyone I cover. I want to know them besides what I see from them in their "environment" or sport.
I have always prided myself on being someone that is easily approachable and hopefully, I do come off that way when I am at games or just out doing whatever. I always try to keep a smile on my face no matter what is going on, because you never know who's day it may brighten up.
I have to use an example for this one. A couple of years ago, I went to the final home basketball game over at Cumberland High School. I remember while I was there, these little kids were there running around, having a good time, playing with basketballs.
I stopped for a little while at halftime and spoke with them, put them on camera and just had a good laugh. Several weeks later, I received a letter in the mail talking about how those kids talked about me for days and how they looked up to me.
That meant a lot to me and that is something that i will never forget. I will never forget that there are people out there who would love to be in my position, and there are people who look up to me for what I do, and appreciate what I bring to WYMT. Every day, I try to remember that there are so many things that i could be doing that could be so much worse. I mean, really, I watch sports and I talk about it on TV.
But I hope that does not defines me. I hope that when people speak of me, they talk about how kind or caring that I can be, I hope what I do on television is really just a small part of what I do for people in trying to brighten their day.
As each day passes, I try to become a better person. At the same time, I hope that I also help someone else become a better person, because I am not just a role model, I am friend.
And what is a friend for?!?!