With the current sports topics including everything from torturing dogs, to steroids, to cheating refs, and players writing books accusing someone of something -- I got to thinking, what happened to the athlete? The older members of this site will know what I'm talking about, when the word "athlete" used to encompass a person's character, integrity, and nature as a human being. When the "athlete" was revered for being such a great human, kids with dreams of making it big asking for autographs and actually getting them, instead of having to pay a sum over fifty dollars, it was for free.
I'm twenty-seven and believe that I got to witness the "down-fall" of the "All-American Athlete" with the second retirement of Michael Jordan. There have been cases throughout the history of sports of bad things happening, but it seems to have picked up since the Airness decided to call it quits. Everything started to get worse in the ninties and the ball of crap keeps rolling as this decade continues. Maybe I'm wrong and it's as bad as it's always been and our media just presents us with these stories, it seems worse to me.
I hope that when I have kids someday that the "Athlete" hasn't kept up its current decline. That the next generation of "Athlete" has recognized the error of previous players and dresses up their act, bring back the image that the late "Hero's" strove for -- men like Larry Bird, Magic, Mike Singletary, Walter Payton, and even further back, Joe Dimaggio. But I could be wishing in vain, since time heals all wounds, that includes stories of such for the "Athlete" of old as well.