Sports icons impact fans and athletes

Phillip Ndowu | Banner | Fans flock to downtown Los Angeles in droves to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant early last year.

California Baptist University’s student-athletes and sports fans are often devoted to or inspired by their favorite professional players and teams.

Dr. Ed Garret, associate professor of kinesiology, described how young athletes looking up to professional athletes act as a “personal GPS to life.”

“The people you look up to have traveled that road before, so they know where all the pitfalls and hairpin curves are,” Garret said. “They have the expertise to say, ‘You are still on the fastest track to your destination,’ ‘Obstacle ahead,’ or ‘Reroute.’ The challenge you face in the journey of life is in keeping your eyes ‘up’ on the road and not ‘down’ on your phone.”

Chad Castillo, CBU baseball player and junior business administration major, said he believes watching professional athletes play a sport is important for young athletes to witness. For Castillo, former professional baseball player Ken Griffey Jr. inspires him to play better.

“My favorite professional athlete is Ken Griffey Jr. because of his ability to play at such a high level while having fun,” Castillo said. “He has inspired me to go after every day at 100% while maintaining a positive attitude because, at the end of the day, baseball is just a game. I think it’s very important for aspiring athletes to look up to professionals because it gives them ideas about how to approach the game. It shows kids how to hold themselves and display a passion for the game.”

As young athletes watch sports for inspiration, fans show support by remaining loyal to their teams through difficult losses. 

Garret said he thought the best way to explain why fans stay loyal to teams would best be described through a quote.

“I will borrow a line from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and Mr. Andy Dufresne: ‘Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of the things. And a good thing never dies.’ Therefore, it is the hope that our team will triumph next time in battle. 

It is the belief that tomorrow will bring about a new day and a new opportunity. But most of all, it’s because I look sick in the team swag.”

Avid sports fan James Chidiac, senior architecture major, said he has remained loyal to his “home” team the Los Angeles Lakers despite some tough seasons.

“Lakers have always maintained a quality of greatness and class that not many sports franchises have achieved or will ever achieve,” Chidiac said. “It’s a franchise that resembles what I want to accomplish in the end and that is to strive to always compete to be the best.” 

Chidac said the way fans honored Kobe Bryant’s death inspired him.

Sports bring people together and teach loyalty through trials. Sports are important to people throughout their lifetimes because they inspire and give hope to fans of any age.

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