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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pausing for 9/11: Why Can't Pro Athletes Produce Doctors, Engineers?

The 10-year anniversary of 9/11 gives all Americans a time to pause and reflect on life's meaning, individual goals, the role of our country and the meaning of family. Coincidentally, it lands on a Sunday, always a big deal in the sports world.

When 9/11 happened, sports became a symbol for the recovery of the country to normalcy.

The media is making tribute after tribute to the heroism and tragedy of the day, as it should.  Included among so much of these media representations are sports intertwining with stories from the airplanes, the towers and where were you when it happened.

The NFL starts its season, the U.S. Open hopes to play a women's final and MLB will have a full-slate of games.  Whether Saturday or Sunday, every sport will make their contribution in remembering those who lost their lives that day and all of those who have made the sacrifices since by serving their communities and country.

Sports, in so many ways, has been about chasing the American dream.  So many times, athletes make all the sacrifices to master their talents in a sport, hoping to rise up from humble roots to conquer aspirations and improve their lot in life.

Sports has been a great equalizer in American society.  Performance is viewed mostly through an objective lens.

What happens, though, when the dreams have been realized and success in sports breeds only thoughts for more success in sports?  Apparently, this is the current trend.

It's not just athletes breeding athletes, it's also pop culture breeding pop culture.  Joe Montana's son wants to play pro football, Wayne Gretzky's son wants to play pro baseball, P Diddy's son wants to be a pro football player, Will Smith's son acting and the list goes on and on and on, for marginally well-known or small, medium or large pop culture and sports celebrities.

If their not involving themselves in athletics or pop culture, they are absorbed in their number one hobby, developing more business opportunities.

Taking one's wealth to open foundations is an excellent alternative and many of the athletes and celebrities do this in one way or another.

But, what about raising your children by making education the priority?  What about more direct, impacting dreams?

It is time for a gut-check on star athletes and pop-culture figures.  It's time for a bigger contribution to society than just succumbing to only excelling in athletics.

It's time to raise some doctors, scientists and engineers.  Where are these stories?  There seems to be an absence of them in mainstream media circles.

There are more African-American pro athletes than African-American brain surgeons in the U.S. and it has always been this way.

This is not just an athlete, pop-culture problem.  People in power have gotten lazy and the work ethic has weakened.  People in the upper-class need to use this 10th anniversary of 9/11 to reinvigorate themselves and place more of a priority on raising generations towards service and careers which will strengthen our country.

There are those who can set the example with the media attention and really stir the pot in a positive way.  Imagine the pride Michael Jordan could feel in having a son who is a successful brain surgeon, rather than a journeyman ballplayer.

A new American dream must be created for pro athletes and pop culture figures.  They have ample wealth and time to spend on helping the generations they spawn to endeavor for greater singular contributions.  Without a doubt, they are able to create an atmosphere for their future generations to become successful professionals in the workforce, in occupations such as pediatricians, firefighters and teachers, just to name a few.

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