What We Do RIGHT

When Princeton’s dean of students told him he had won the Heisman Trophy, he recalled: “I thought it was nice. Then I went back to class.”

Last week I read the obituary of Dick Kazmaier, a former Princeton football player who won the Heisman Trophy in 1951, but, after being drafted by the Chicago Bears, chose to go to business school instead. He went on to serve three years in the Navy, to found an investment firm, and to enjoy a long career in finance and philanthropy.

Nowadays it seems like all we do is highlight college football players who mess up or get in trouble somehow.

SO - It’s important to take a moment to acknowledge one who “did it right.”

We can all agree the college sports system in this country has more holes in it than a basketball net made out of swiss cheese.

Allow me to throw one more proposal on the heap of "solutions": You can’t play in the pros until you graduate from a four-year college.

Critics of such proposals usually say, “Well, it’s unfair to the athlete. If he can make money on the open market, that’s his right.”

But it’s not just about the player. It’s about all of us. We’re in this society together.

What is the value of a great athlete who is under-educated, and is not a productive member of society after leaving sport? What is his value to himself, if no one else?

Why don’t we look at great athletes from the past who became great people – like Dick Kazmaier – and use their lives as a guide for the lives of current athletes? Isn’t that the best way to duplicate their success?

Isn't positive reinforcement so much more effective than negative?

We make so abundantly clear what we don’t want from our athletes.

But why don’t we spend more time celebrating what we do want in them?

Let’s start with Dick Kazmaier.


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