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Find a role model; be a role model

Often, players refer to their coaches when asked about personal role models. Parents are, of course, factored into the equation, but coaches are usually the first thought that comes to an athlete’s mind when asked about people who have made a huge impact on their lives.
T.J. Oshie, a friend who plays for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, refers to his father, Tim Oshie as ‘Coach.” Oshie’s father has always been his mentor and leader, and personally, I look up to his father as well.
Coach is currently fighting one of the most difficult battles of his life. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago and even though in the early stages, he is seeing the affects of the disease worsen daily.
Last year, T.J. and the Caps won the Stanley Cup, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I watched as Coach hugged his son’s neck, and tears streamed down both men’s faces. “You can bet everything he will remember this,” Oshie said.
As I think back to people who have helped me develop in a sport that I, as an Alabama resident, wasn’t supposed to play, I am taken aback by the number of people who have made an impact on me. People such as Coach Oshie and T.J. Oshie open their arms to people they barely know, just because they can relate to them.
I am grateful that I have role models such as these two men in my life.
Steve Shutt, an NHL Hall of Fame member who was part of five Stanley Cup winners, didn’t have to teach me things he learned through his career that would benefit my game and mentality, but he did.
As a young athlete, the decisions that you make today can and will affect tomorrow. We cannot change the past, but we can change tomorrow.
It is important to find the person who is a role model to you.
It doesn’t have to be a coach, a parent, a friend, or even anyone you may personally know.
The bottom line is that a role model is needed for you to mold your attitude and career. Another important aspect is to make it a positive role model.
One of the biggest problems I have noticed in the sports world today is the lack of positive role models. Too many players resort to screaming at officials, making obscene gestures and snide comments. These things have no place within a national stage of sports entertainment that millions of kids watch.
If your attitude stinks, your game will as well. Find the role model who teaches you about the game of life more than the game itself. You could be the best player to ever grace a field, but if your attitude is the worst to ever grace the field, nothing you do physically will ultimately matter.
Attitude is the number-one priority. Make sure yours is in check.
Finally, be a leader yourself. As a player, if you take a leadership role and have a positive role model, you will push to be a positive leader who leads by example.
If you are asking teammates to do something, or to make a play, lead them. Too many people try to be a leader from a follower position. It does not work.
In order to be a leader, you must take charge and set an example for those who follow.