Idolizing and Putting People on a Pedistal

Comedian Greg Barent once said “Be inspired by people, sure.  But never idolize anybody because they’ll just let you down.”  In the past few weeks, doesn’t that sound about right?

  • Gordon Gee, The Ohio State University President, had to step down due to remarks he made about Notre Dame, Catholics and the SEC.  Those remarks were made in a closed room meeting and were leaked by someone who recorded it.
  • Cleveland athletes Chris Perez and Josh Gordon both had drug issues arise this past week and now they both face suspensions and fine from their respective teams.
  • Erin Brockovich is arrested for driving a boat while under the influence.

Everyone idolizes somebody as a kid.  Your parents, Barbie, Superman, the police and firefighters.  It’s what makes childhood fun.

For me, there have been several instances where I was too close and ended up idolizing people who have let me down.

  1. Pete Rose.  Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, was there any better player than good ole Charlie Hustle?  I watched history as he wound up with more hits than any other player in Major League Baseball history.  Once he retired and became a manager, that’s when the betting issues came to light.  I found out that Pete Rose isn’t a good guy.  I found out he was not a man to model myself after.  However, his work ethic while playing remains something to admired.
  2. Mark McGwire.  I watched this guy in his rookie year of 1987 blast 4 home runs in a single game against my Cleveland Indians and 49 total for the season (a record that still stands today).  I witnessed #35 of 70 in that magic year of 1998.  I cheered him on in his final year as he was batting .201 and ONLY hitting home runs.  I stood behind him as he went to Congress and said he wasn’t answering any questions because the public already had their mind made up.  That was 2005.  Five years later he confesses to Bob Costas that he was taking steroids.  “There’s not a pill or an injection that’s going to give me, going to give any player the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball,”  As true as that may be, he was a conceited prick during that interview and I haven’t uttered his name much since.

That was my final lesson.  To learn that someone you respect isn’t who you thought they were gives you the feeling like being stood up at prom.  It hurts, it’s disappointing and it isn’t necessary to go though.

Lindsey Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson and all the other celebrities that had great public images and then the truth came out.  Granted, not all of it is drugs, drinking, or sex related.  Going back to Gordon Gee, who hasn’t been in a group of close friends and told a joke that you wouldn’t tell the general public?  Now imagine one of those friends taping that joke and putting it in the ears of the people you wouldn’t normally tell it to.  I still don’t understand why public figures need to stay PC, but that’s another blog.

The point is admire the good qualities of people.  Pete Rose’s hustle.  Mark McGwire’s home run swing, Mel Gibson’s movies.  Don’t waste your time trying to BE these people.  I mean, really, could you keep up with Charlie Sheen while he was “Winning”?

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