I came across a great quote today that made me think about who we select to be our heroes and which celebrities we choose to glorify. Here is the quote:
“Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real model”. Daniel J. Boorstin (1)
Just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean that he is a hero or a role model. Parents should be vigilant on who their children choose as their hero. Let’s not let the media choose them for us. It seems to me that we are all victims of advertising, marketing and the media selecting what is important for us to watch and hear.
Tiger Woods never had as much exposure as when he had a big sex scandal. Lindsay Lohan has been on the headlines more for her addictions than for her talent as an actress. I won’t expand on the eccentricity of “Lady Gaga” as a role model for our kids. Hockey has had its bad boys too so it’s important that kids pick the right celebrity to adulate.
Celebrities often don’t realize the impact they can have on young people and adults as well. They have a responsibility towards their fans as much as to the team that they play for. The impact can define itself by a simple autograph given with a smile and a caring comment or giving a presentation in a school.
I experienced this myself several times as a professional athlete. Some events happened during my career as a goalie in the NHL that seemed very trivial to me but were so memorable to the people that I interacted with.
Recently I met a man who showed me a picture of the two of us. He was an 8 year old wide eyed kid standing beside me getting an autograph. He was very excited to finally get his picture signed. To my surprise, he remembered every details of our encounter. What seemed so trivial to me to sign an autograph was important to him and he remembered it through his adult life.
Then my distant cousin recently connected with me and gave me a DVD of his collection of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and pictures over my whole career. He is so excited about his production that he posted it on YouTube. (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=phil+myre&aq=f). I met him only on a couple of occasions when he was about 10 years old and I was beginning my career with the Montreal Canadiens. We never saw each other beyond that but the short time that we had was enough to influence him as he was growing up.
Those stories illustrate the impact that a celebrity can have on young people. It may seem insignificant to the famed person but yet, can have a lifetime impact to the fan involved.
So let’s not be fooled between a celebrity and a role model. Yes, some celebrities can be role models but the title doesn’t come automatically. Conversely, role models don’t have to be celebrities. The person who had the biggest positive impact on my childhood was my grandfather. And don’t let the media choose who our heroes should be.
HAVE A GREAT HOCKEY DAY!
Phil Myre (philmyretalkshockey.com) (Blog every Tuesday and Friday)
(1) Boorstin was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987. Boorstin describes shifts in American culture — mainly due to advertising— where the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more important or “real” than the event itself.