Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tom Brady: Sportsman of the Year

The Sporting News has selected Patriots QB Tom Brady as its Sportsman of the Year. In an age of steroids in baseball, basketball brawls and contract squables in hockey, Tom Brady stands out as the rare legitimate athlete/role model. He is not a role model because of his on-the-field play, but because of the perspective he brings to his very public life.
"My life ultimately is about the relationships I have with my family and my friends, and those are the things that are important," he says. "As long as those things are in place, all the other things, including football, take care of themselves. But any time you let things get in the way, the distractions — I guess fame is the word — if that starts getting in the way, then you start losing your relationships and it starts affecting lots of other things, the way you play football and then your career. I can't let that happen."
Such an outlook should be applied to and by anyone, no matter their profession. And it is not just Brady's own self-awareness that points to a life being lived properly. Brady's belief that football would take care of itself if he lived the rest of his life the right way is confirmed by his coach, Bill Belichick, who offered his assessment of his star Quarterback's work ethic and professionalism.
"There's hardly anything you can criticize the guy for," says the reticent Belichick, who hands out effusive praise about as often as he loses. "He works hard; he's well prepared; he treats every teammate with the ultimate respect; he doesn't expect anything that everyone else doesn't get, too. If he is doing it, then it's hard for anyone to say they can't do something. But it's not for show. If you bump into him working extra in the off-season, fine, but he doesn't make sure you know he is here."
There is much more of value in the piece. For those who take a jaded eye toward star athletes, Tom Brady shows that it is possible for a "normal" person with traditional values to maintain the proper perspective while being a star. More importantly, he provides an example to all that strong values reinforced by strong relationships with family and friends provide the basis for personal and professional success.

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