This morning I read a fascinating tid-bit on Dion Waiters and a trip he took to the home of a fan. It was a simple yet profound story of a professional athlete making a fan’s dream come true.
If you haven’t heard the story, get out from under your rock, it’s quite a good one. I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Mr. Waiters was doing a signing at a local Syracuse mall when a fan came up for an autograph. The fan was a 12 year old girl who had loved Dion Waiters since his freshman year at ‘Cuse. This fan’s mother, who promised not to embarrass the girl in front of her idol, ended up inviting Dion to dinner. Instead of nicely dismissing the offer, Dion simply asked, “how far away do you live?”. When the answer was “not far at all”, Dion proceeded to give the family his phone number and asked for directions. It was unclear whether or not Dion would actually show up at the house, until he showed up at the doorstep surprising the entire family. He then joined the family for dinner, played some horse, and made this girl’s and this family’s day.
It was a simple gesture that meant a lot to the family, and meant a lot to me. It is people like Dion Waiters that I want representing the city of Cleveland on the court or on the field. This simple story got me thinking, however. Should I? Should I want good guys off the court representing Cleveland? It seems to me that Cleveland has had a lot of good guys, but not a lot of titles.
Essentially, my question to you is, would you rather have nice losers or dirty winners on your team?
For me, and for most of you, the answer would seemingly be that we would always much rather have the first option. I think it is much, much, much more important to have good people representing your city and your fans. Having and being good people is much more important than essentially anything to me.
In terms of sports though, how much does good character off the court play in winning? Coaches, GMs, and Owners always say, “We’re looking for character guys on this team”, or “we’re going to be the best team in the country, both on and off the court”. Do they really mean that?
All I know is, The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs last year, Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls, and LeBron James is LeBron James.
Kidding, about LeBron, I don’t think he’s a bad guy… in some ways.
It seems to me that in football, or in any sport, character seems to be counting less and less.
Cleveland, I’m proud to say, has always had guys with the highest of character. If players were a part of a Cleveland sports team and had no character, they were usually gone as soon as they came a la: Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, LeBron James. The amount of wonderful people that have graced the city of Cleveland and their sports teams is certainly a large one, but is not mirrored by the number of titles in this town.
Very rarely do you get players who are known for their outstanding character who are also absolute superstars in their respective sports, especially in today’s sports world. Today’s superstar athletes are self-consumed and egotistical, often put nothing or no one before themselves. However, they still dominate their sports and win often. It’s just unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that in these days, you really can’t have both.
While I applaud Cleveland for their efforts to find those good character superstars, these days it is a seemingly fruitless cause.
I love what Dion Waiters did and I think it shows what a great young man he truly is, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can do anything special on the court. I certainly hope he can become one of these rare superstars who puts morals before winning or anything for that matter. Nothing matters more than character, regardless of what kind of basketball player he is, but I’m certainly hoping he can help the Cavaliers win as well.
I’m very interested to hear your opinions on this matter. Would you rather have immoral superstars or wholeheartedly good losers. Should the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers curb their quests for these impossibly rare combos of good people and exceptional athletes? Or should they continue their efforts, no matter how many losses it causes them to incur?
If you can’t have both, and that seemingly is the case these days, which would you pick?
Let me know on Twitter @H_Grove or on the comments section of this page!