Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fathers are Important?

Jason Whitlock, columnist for the Kansas City Star, recently wrote an article about Vince Young, quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. Young, beginning his third year in the league, caved under the weight of adversity Sunday, asking to be removed from the game after throwing a second interception. Since the game on Sunday, Young has apparently been suffering depression, and the Titan's head coach, Jeff Fisher, had to call on the police to locate him.

What makes all this drama interesting is Whitlock's take on the plight of young athletes who lack the intestinal fortitude required to handle the rigors of such a spotlight. He references two negative examples: Young and
Michael Vick. He also contrasts them with Donovan McNabb, quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Unlike Young and Vick, McNabb seems to have adapted to his environment in ways that allow him to excel.

To what does Whitlock credit this difference? The influence of fathers. He argues that the position of quarterback in the NFL (like many other roles in life) requires "thick skin and genuine self-confidence."  "It doesn't take much to crack a man with no real identity, especially if he's grown accustomed to having all his shortcomings rationalized."

Here's the most interesting quote:
It's not about color. It's about fitting the profile of someone who can handle all that goes along with being an NFL quarterback. If I'm an owner, I spend my quarterback dollars on young men who were raised by strong fathers. It wouldn't be an infallible system, but on average I bet I'd hit more winners than if I turned over the leadership of my team to a kid who isn't used to having a strong male authority figure.

This makes me think along a couple of lines.  First, honest evaluation is important and neglected.  Second, being and having a strong male authority figure is important and neglected.  This article makes me want to be a better dad.

What do you think about Whitlock's analysis?

~ Todd

1 comment:

Craver Vii said...

At one level, this sounds completely plausible. But as a dad, I feel a tremendous pressure to produce results. Dads are often second-guessed and criticized by their children and wives and peers... I'm not talking about deadbeats; I'm talking about godly men who really try to do the best they can.

Speaking for myself, I have a father who is good and respectable, and I try to do right in my role as dad, but I could not guarantee that all my children will end up the straight arrows that I desire them to be.

Having said that, I believe statistics will be kinder to people with dads who put forth the effort (and sometimes fail) than people who had bad fathers.

Life is hard. For everybody. It can't help when a person doesn't have a mentor or role model. That's why God builds it into every family, and that's part of why divorce and polygamy are such ugly things.