Charles Barkley once said "I am not a role model." And in response, about a million journalists, teachers, and parents smacked their heads. Of course, you're a role model, Sir Charles. Once you're in the public eye, you're expected to set a good example.
So when a sports figure actually goes out of their way to help others, they deserve praise for living up to their obligations.
I'm speaking, of course, of the Phillie Phanatic.Yesterday, my wife ran the Broad Street Ten-Miler, which was pretty darn impressive on its own. My kids and I participated in the One Mile Fun Run. Tristan bounced along gleefully, looking kind of like Tigger on uppers. Audrey's asthma got the better of her, and after a half a mile she slowed to a walk. She asked to quit, but I tried to keep her walking to the finish line. Finally, about a hundred yards from the finish line, I asked if she could try running, so at least she could finish on a positive not. She would have none of it.
Then a big fuzzy green hand reached out to her. Taking Audrey by the hand, the Phanatic ran with Audrey, who suddenly found it in her to accelerate to a sprint. Grinning broadly and flanked by her two big doofuses, she raced across the finish line and I swore she could have run another mile. Both kids received a medal for their efforts, and they were extremely proud. So was I.
Thanks, big guy! I don't need a magazine to tell me that you're the best mascot in sports. You're more like the best anything anywhere.