Back when I was just a wee shaver, I was drawn to the school’s baseball team. I wasn’t much of a player myself, but I got the opportunity to be a manager (I was actually the ball boy, don’t know why they called me a manager but I never questioned it).
My job was to chase down foul balls and return them to the umpire so the game moved along smoothly.
I was good at my job too – and it made an indelible impression on my tiny brain. In fact, to this day, anytime a ball is fouled off I JUMP right away out of my seat (before sheepishly sitting back down amid the stares).
Old habits die hard.
One player made a strong impression on me. His name was Johnny and he was the coolest, most hip player on the team.
I idolized Johnny.
Johnny took a liking to me, and paid extra attention to me – even created a signal – a flick of the wrist – that when he did it, I’d be compelled to repeat it – to the entertainment of his teammates.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was, several years later, when I heard that Johnny had been arrested and spent 3 days in jail for drunk driving.
This was devastating news to me.
Through the years I’d run across him now and then – but I never felt the same about him.
Many years later I thought about my idol when someone confided that they had looked up to me when I was in high school.
I had never given it a thought when I was competing, that you're a role model – whether you're a good one or a bad one is up to you.
Just like Johnny had never given a thought when he played baseball.
A wise mentor once told me: No matter what you do, small eyes are watching you. Make sure they see something they can look up to.