“ … recognize the value of sports as an avenue for building character. “ – Curly Culp <NFL Hall of Fame inductee>choices happend to be jung



I imagine I think too little, and worry a little too much, about some of the non-essential important aspects and functions in the bigger scheme of things happening globally.

One of those things? Sports.

I love sports but try and not let it consume my life <imagining that there are other things more important than knowing what Ronaldo’s hair looks like, what cricket player tripped over a wicket or who Tiger is dating>.


And then Curly Culp  … a name I envision fewer people globally know than say … well …  Bill Foulkes <who was one of Manchester United’s most steady performers for almost 20 years through the 50’s and 60’s first as a full back and later as center half … also a Munich plane crash survivor> and I envision not many people know who Bill Foulkes was.

My point is that Curly played in the NFL for almost a dozen years for the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers in the 60’s … and he just entered the NFL Hall of Fame and there are a boatload of people playing professional sports who we never hear of … and maybe we should hear what they have to say more often than the pampered ‘assume I am entitled’ superstar idiots who blabber incessantly these days.


Why do I say this?


Maybe we should hear more often from the hard working in-the-trenches stiffs … who are working their asses off <despite already having massive talent that puts them at an athletic level that you and I cannot even envision being at> and … well … they love the game they are playing … wherever and whatever that game is being played.

Love the game enough that they play it right.

And whether they admit it … or even consciously can acknowledge it … it really isn’t the love of the game that makes them play it right … it is something called character.


What did he say that made me think <and worry>?


“I have learned that football is not just a sport but a life lesson. I have learned that there are many good people in the world that play this sport and recognize the value of sports as an avenue for building character.  “


So here is where I worry.




children build strongWhile I absolutely believe professional sports needs to get all of its proverbial shit together with regard to drugs and cheating and off the field/court antics … it is not for the integrity of the game.

It is because not only is sports an “avenue for building character” for participants … it is a character lesson for everyone who watches or roots or pays attention.

Professional athletes may only being human <and I question whether some of them really are> … but they have an inhuman hero impact upon children.

Not only do they tend to be physically larger than life they are emotionally larger than life when it comes to character.


Whether athletes like it or not … they are examples.

They may not desire the pedestal.

They may not even be worthy of the pedestal.

They may not even know what a pedestal is or how to spell it.

Tough shit.


Just as a parent assumes responsibility for the character building of their children … a professional athlete assumes the responsibility for the character building of the youth.

Wow. That sure sounds BIG doesn’t it? So is that a burden?

Whew. I hesitate here.

<ponder a second>

Well … no.

They can certainly enjoy the fruits of their labor but they must also assume the responsibilities that come along with doing what they love. And if they truly love what they are doing then it isn’t a burden. Or maybe at it’s worst … it is a ‘labor of love.’

Semantics to me. Because to me it is simple in this case.

Just as in any great personal relationship … if it is truly ‘love’ than what binds you to that relationship is not passion or talent or dedication … it is character.

The character to do it right.

The character to show respect.

The character to be humble when necessary and confident when needed.

The character to recognize that the relationship is not about ‘I” but rather the inextricable intertwining of “we.”


If I could have every athlete sign something when they became a professional it may read some like this:


“I hereby swear from this moment on … the game is I and I am the game.”



Was Curly Culp a saint? I imagine not.character_traits1

But he was an apostle for the sport. He respected the game and he recognized that what the game really was at the end of the day not about whether you recorded wins and losses … but rather it was about character.

And what the person in the mirror said to him when he looked at it.


And what the kid in front of him thought about him when he looked at the kid.


Maybe I am silly … but I do worry.


“… recognize the value of sports … for building character.”


I know for an indisputable fact that the previsou statement is truth. Unequivocal and indisputable. Maybe nothing more true than this.

And yet I worry that many professional athletes have forgotten this Truth.

And I worry less about their souls and character <although I wish better for them> than I do about their impact on children.

I worry because whether we non-athlete adults like it or not … these athletes impact and imprint our children. We can talk until we are blue in the face about the ‘right thing to do and the right way to do it’ but in the end … and I say this as an attitudes & behavior guy … actions impact deeper than words.


It is a sobering thought to think even if I live with a high level of character in front of children and say the right words … and in some ways am a ‘hero’ to some child … a professional athlete’s actions and behavior impacts those children.

But you know what?

I may not like it … and I may scream to myself on occasion over being put in that position … but I recognize it as part of dealing with Life’s responsibilities.

My gripe?

I am not sure professional athletes recognize their part in dealing with Life’s responsibilities.

Maybe that is what I worry about.


We need more Curly Culps speaking out.

We can never have too many people discussing character. And maybe we should be spending less time talking about ‘the integrity of the game’ and instead talk about character and responsibility.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Written by Bruce