Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Steve Courson:Hero

If you don't follow sports, or at least football, you may have missed the fact that Steve Courson died recently. Mr. Courson was a player for those vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 70's, and you can find a story about the man and his life here:

I am writing about this not because of any glory he received while playing, but because of the impact he had on sports after he retired. Mr. Courson was one of the first athletes to come out and openly admit to using steroids. I think of him as a hero not because of the fact that he was a participant in Super Bowl victories, but because of the things he did in life since he played.

Mr. Courson took personal responsibility for the mistakes that he made, and did not act only vocally to address the situation, although he did that indeed. What impresses me so much is that he took action in his own life to change it for the better, action which took concerted effort and discipline.

In today's "Dr. Phil" society it can be extremely easy for famous people to point out a problem or even admit to their own wrongdoing. We can all probably name at least one superstar that we have seen shed tears while admitting the error of their ways to Barbara Walters. Most of the time these "stars" don't do anything to actually change that behavior, or even worse, sometimes they act as if the very instance of admitting to the problem divulges them of any personal responsibility in the situation.

In my time working with troubled teens and dealing with other teenagers who live with me but shall remain nameless, I have witnessed an attitude of what I refer to as "atleastism". It is the attitude which says suggests "I may have done that wrong, but AT LEAST I apologized" or "I may not be doing as well as I should be at school, but AT LEAST I am there." I think we're all guilty of that type of thinking, but our youth are especially susceptible to the phenomena, and it is in part due to the irresponsible behavior of the people they look up to.

Steve Courson was not that kind of man. He was a hero. He did something wrong and that had the courage to come out and admit it. He then took the responsibility upon himself to change his behavior. He never shied away from admitting his wrong, and he even went as far as trying to educate others from his own experience. That's what a hero looks like to me.

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