Friday, August 06, 2004

A True Gentleman

I grew up near Detroit, at a time when Barry Sanders was playing for the Lions. I was not following professional football when he decided to retire, but I found his decision to do so interesting. (Compare it to Socrates's reasons for not accepting money for his teaching -- at a time when he could have made a lot of money for doing so.)

Recently, Mitch Albom recorded an interview with Sanders. It helped me understand and appreciate Sanders much more. The following exchange is a response to Albom's asking why Sanders didn't go back into the final game of his rookie season in order to win the rushing title for that season.

M: Why not go back in then?

B: Because that would have been for everybody else, not for me.

M: But it was your record.

B: No, because up to that point, every run that I had made -- every game that I had played in -- it was in the spirit of competition -- the way the game is intended. But to go in just for the purpose of the record, that's different than going in because we need these yards -- or we need these points. You know what I mean?

Kids, you should grow up to be like Barry Sanders. Parents, you should teach your kids to play sports with this kind of attitude.