Whatever region of the country a person lives in they are often unaware of some of the very good things happening in other regions. In the South we can talk southern football, but often have little understanding of what is going on elsewhere and know little of the character of athletes out of our region.
Kirk Cousins, outstanding quarterback for the Michigan State Spartina spoke at the 2011 Big Ten Football Luncheon. Having heard a bit of the character of Kirk I viewed on Facebook his speech.
His brief speech had three parts. He said playing football was many things and one special thing is it is a privilege. Athletes are privileged. Humbly he spoke of the favor shown athletes, the honor of being asked for an autograph by a child, delight of using the platform afforded by being an athlete to try to influence young people, and the opportunity of being interviewed and sharing personal values.
His second point focused on an area overlooked by many athletes as well as persons in various walks of life. Often privileged persons develop a sense of entitlement. They grow to expect favors and acclaim. Being privileged to be an exceptional person they want exceptions made for them. They grow to feel moral and civil laws don’t apply to them. This feeds their ego.
This is where he made his most valid point. He said being privileged should not result in a sense of entitlement, but rather a sense of responsibility. Privileged persons are responsible for not letting down those who have made it possible for them being privileged. They are responsible to live up to the highest standards and be accountable. Privileged people have a responsibility to embrace responsibility that goes with the privilege. To set a standard of true manhood for youth. To use ones God given potential to the fullest. To redefine what it means to be cool. To set a new standard of how to treat others. That excellence in the classroom is a worthy pursuit. That it is more important to do what is right that what feels good. Athletes have a responsibility not to do anything to dishonor the name of the front of the jersey and those who make it possible for them to play football. A responsibility to the name on the back of the jersey so family and friends will not be ashamed to say he is one of ours.
With just the right amount of spiritual insight he acknowledged the ability to play football is by the grace of God. Then quoting from the Book of Luke he recounted that “to whom much is given much is expected.”
He concluded by saying, “May we have the wisdom to handle the privilege and the courage to fulfill the responsibility that goes with our role.” That is good council for all of us.
Some athletes have such a bloated egos they can strut sitting down. Arrogance and impudence characterize many. An inflated sense of self-worth permeates sports. It is good to hear an athlete who combines confidence, humility, and wisdom. Candidly, there are many with such high morals, admirable ethics, and commendable spiritual values. Their standards don’t insure them against losses, but they surely mean they aren’t losers.