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Giving Back As An Athlete Essay

2923 words - 12 pages


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 ...view middle of the document...

… Somewhere along the way, a person or experience impacted us so greatly that it changed our lives. That’s why I believe it’s so important to have passion. Anyone can give money or even ask for money but if there’s no personal connection and passion behind the act, it’s pointless. That’s just my opinion. (Anonymous, 2009)

All of the philanthropic acts stated above Dunn’s quote could fall under possible passion filled acts. But to really give back to a purpose, athletes must look at who idealizes them the most and will learn the most from them. That is the youth. The youth is who these athletes are most impressionable to. Being impressionable to youths is not writing a big check or setting up a charity to raise money for your foundation. Yes the money is a good gift and can really help charities, but besides the fact many professional athletes’ charities fail, athletes need to give back by helping and educating the youth. Sport has been proven to have “a positive effect on youths’ social, psychological, and motor development and inspire a physically active life style” (Weiss, 2007). Two programs that allow professional athletes in the NBA and MLB give back by educating and promoting this life style though sports are Basketball Without Boarders (BWB) and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI). In their own way, these programs promote education in the youth about sport, character building and social development. Management of professional athletes should be encouraging their athletes to participate in these programs rather just donating money or making a personal appearance at a team promotion.

Examples of Giving Back Individually: Good and Bad

Some athletes take it upon themselves to start their own charity. Some of these charities support a foundation for an illness or disease their son or daughter has. An example would be Doug Fluties’ Flutie Flakes which support’s the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, a disorder that Doug’s son has. Other athletes have also started successful charities by giving.
Tiger Woods and Andre Agassi, for example, have become beacons in the world of giving. Mr. Woods started golf clinics for children nationwide. Mr. Agassi is estimated to have given $20 million, much of it to education and youth programs in his hometown of Las Vegas (Zinser , 2006).
But at the same time … “[o]ther foundations, like Michael Jordan’s, have failed. In 1996, Mr. Jordan shut it down when it was revealed that little of what it raised reached charitable causes and that his contributions were minimal” (Zinser, 2006). It has been shown that the reason for the failure of player’s charities is their inability to run it on their own.
While a handful of player charities appear to be well-financed and tightly managed organizations that do good, a larger number are unimpressively funded and their activities poorly documented. Up to a quarter of NBA player charities analyzed lacked even basic documentation required by...

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