Should we care about what athletes do outside of the sport?

This column is a continuation off of yesterday’s …so….there….

Yes and yes.

Whether we like it or not, we don’t consume anything — much less real people playing real games — in a vacuum. We consider the nature of an athletes’ personality, values, beliefs and lifestyle choices when we develop an overall perception of who they are. If you disagree, get back to me after week 12 of the NFL season (when Deshaun Watson returns to action). To suggest the motivation for following an athlete rests on if they score points for ‘our team’ or break a record is simply preposterous.

What if every jersey just said “N/A?” on the back? Remember in Madden 98 (maybe the column should end right here!!!) when your franchise mode went to year No. 2 and you ‘drafted’ players with made up names like “James Williston.” I always hated that. Why? Because James Williston wasn’t real, and I knew it! It matters, even in a make-believe video game, if we’re playing with real people.

Speaking of the NFL — how many people view Aaron Rodgers differently after his clashes with the media over the vaccine and his recent decision to be a full-fledged hippy? I’m not even suggesting it’s a simple “I like him more” or “I hate him more” type deal. Really, in the case of him and many athletes we track, information about what goes on off the field often provides clarity to the results on it.

I would argue that for many — if not all — athletes, personal revelations coincide with athletic realities. For instance, understanding details about Michael Jordan’s backstory — his personal vendetta’s towards opponents, coaches and even several teammates — illuminate elements of his greatness, namely his willingness to win at all costs and insatiable drive to be the last man standing.

Similar clarity existed with Lance Armstrong. Perhaps we should have seen the doping lies from afar after learning of his severed childhood relationships multiple strained romantic affairs.

But, even if an athlete isn’t one of the all-timers, I care about what they stand for, and so does everyone else. They can say they don’t, and that might be true … until it isn’t. Athletes’ personal decisions, personal stances and personal lives have consequences. They also provide a window for us to understand more holistically who they are.

That matters.

Published by rsederquist

My name is Ryan Sederquist.  I am a man of many passions and dreams, and this website is the outlet for many of them. I am currently teaching 5th grade remotely in the Adams12 school district in Colorado. I have been an elementary music teacher in Alamosa, Colorado, as well as a 7-12 band director at Lake County High School in Leadville, Colorado. I am also in the final, final stages of acquiring my M.S. in Exercise Science from Adams State University. In 2018-2019, we spent a year in Presque Isle, Maine as I coached the UMPI Nordic ski team. I currently live in Leadville, Colorado with my wife Christie, a special education teacher, and our border collie-German shepherd mix, Ajee. Even though it is not my full-time job, ever since I was a child, I had the desire to do one of three things professionally - pro sports, writing about pro sports, or being a radio talk show host. This website is where I pretend to do the latter two, and when I'm out pretending to do the former, I listen to podcasts, think about topics, and pursue my wild dream of someday, at some event, in either running, biking, or skiing, wearing a team USA uniform. This website contains articles, podcasts, pictures, and journal entries that have to do with my passion and involvement in endurance sports. Our flagship project is the Seder Skier Podcast, which talks mostly about nordic skiing and attempts to interview influential individuals in the ski world. I also rant about the Big 4 sports, with a lean towards Minnesota teams (Vikings, Twins, Twolves, and MN Distance Running). I sometimes try to write Sports Illustrated like 'feature' articles about athletes as well. In addition to a focus on sports, you will find the occasional article or show that discusses the intersection of theology and society ...which is ...obviously everywhere. We place these in our Skieologians podcast. The heading at the top of my homepage reads, "Search for Truth. Play with purpose. Strive for success." It is the underlying theme for my coaching philosophy, which can be downloaded from this site. Basically, I'm always looking to search for the truth in my pursuit of knowledge, whether that is knowledge regarding the best methods for waxing skis, training a quarter miler, or defending my Christian apologetic. Searching implies a dedicated pursuit for knowledge, and that is what I'm about and what this site is about, even if it is simply for providing viewers with an accurate description of a product. Play with purpose has to do with living out our passions because they are fun. I ski because its fun. I play music and teach young kids because there is joy in it. This blog is about celebrating the joy and fun that inherently exists in the pursuit of excellence and in the activities themselves. Finally, strive for success is built on the principle that true success is the realization that we gave 100% effort to become the best that we could possible be. It requires 100% in preparation, competition, reflection, mental effort, etc. If something is worth doing, I believe it is worth doing with that level of effort. Someday, I hope to race the Visma Classics - the entire season, wear a Team USA singlet, and have a job that involves writing or talking about sports or theology all day. If you know of any body I can reach out to to help me accomplish these goals, please email me at sederquistrd@grizzlies.adams.edu

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