By Kevin Alan Lamb
Even though I stand six-feet, and seven-inches from the earth, people are often surprised to learn of my life as an athlete. Music and sports serve as two of the most commonplace and extraordinary dreams of children around the world, yet media and obnoxious fans have created a negative stigma around the games I love.
Fans watch professional sports because it reminds them of the games they played as children, or once a week while slamming some cold ones with their (inset recreational sport here) team, which if you’re lucky, serves as a band of brothers. However displaced it may be, people have a tendency to scrutinize and condescend the teams and players we love, and the media makes it easier.
If you read the news you read about professional athletes who are making poor decisions, and failing to use their abilities as a platform to lead by example. When we hear about these athletes it is easy to say that we would do things differently, if were professional athletes – but we’re not, and we don’t know what it’s like to be. So rather than scrutinize your favorite player, your favorite team, or the next human to make a mistake and be subject to the shadow of scrutiny and doubt, cast by national media, let us turn our gaze towards those humans who are leading by example, and using their platform to make a difference.
People like Carolina Panthers linebacker, Thomas Davis. On the field, Davis is one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL, but it his efforts off the field that are helping enrich my Monday morning caffeine consumption. Davis and his wife created the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, a charitable organization that provides and promotes programs which enhance the quality of life for children and families.
This is realized through community service, educational development, youth sports, and community support services. Their mission is to educate, empower, and defend. Their foundation is built upon these principles and strives to encourage students to develop the essential life and social skills that will shape them into leaders of tomorrow.
(Related: Detroit Lions, HOPE Africa)
“Through education, leadership development and volunteerism we have the power to assist students in seeing the potential of their dreams in action.” – Thomas Davis
Davis has a passion for football along with a burning desire to help those in need, and make a positive impact on the lives of our youth. When he founded the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation he decided to assist youth in realizing that their past does not determine their future, and everyone is capable of making their dreams a reality.
Their annual free football camp provides more than 350 children with instruction in sports and life skills. The former first-round pick out of the University of Georgia was awarded the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
(Related: Justin Forsett, a vessel for His glory)
If you don’t like the players you are hearing about in the news, turn off the television! Good news is abundant, if only you take a moment to seek it. Take a moment today and find an athlete who is serving others, and building community, I’d love to hear about them! Perception is reality, and only you decide what you will perceive. The media model is broken and it’s time we free ourselves from the box!
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