Pro athletes inspire students

For as long as professional sports have been played, fans have grown up idolizing their favorite professional athletes. Why? The simple answer is that they inspire us.

Millions are inspired by professional athletes every single day, including some students and athletes of Arlington.

Sophomore baseball player Andrew Martin is inspired by Boston Red Sox superstar right fielder and 2018 Most Valuable Player Award frontrunner Mookie Betts.

“He is an amazing athlete, he plays fair, plays his best, works hard, and is very active in helping his community,” Martin said.

Betts is indeed very active in his community and according to an October 26 article by the Chicago Tribune, Betts was spotted feeding homeless people in Boston following the Red Sox Game 2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in this year’s World Series.

“I admire Mookie Betts’ character,” Martin continued. “He is a good guy and I have never seen or heard him arguing with an umpire, getting angry, throwing anything, or acting poorly.”

Betts has indeed never been ejected from a Major League Baseball game and continues to be a role model on and off the field. It is clear to see why Betts has been an inspiration to so many people.

Next, senior and Lions football player Joseph Delgado is inspired by former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and 2018 Professional Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Lewis. Delgado said that he was inspired by Lewis “…because his work ethic matches mine.”

Delgado admires the two-time Super Bowl champion and that “He never gives up in anything.” Lewis’ work ethic has not only put him in the Hall of Fame but has won him the hearts and admiration of millions of football fans across America.

Up next, Lions cross country runner Michael Soto said that an athlete that inspires him is Olympic long-distance runner Galen Rupp.

“He’s an American athlete that is always giving back to the community while being a great runner,” Soto said. Soto additionally mentioned that not only is Rupp a great runner and great to his community but he also displays incredible amounts of sportsmanship, even towards his top competitors.

“He is extremely competitive but is very caring at the same time,” Soto continued, “He makes sure that his top competitor and close friend, Mo Farrah, is okay after every race.”

Rupp’s contributions to his community, his sportsmanship, and his incredible talent inspire Michael Soto along with millions of other runners and fans alike.

Next, Lions Varsity Water Polo player Matthew Olsen is inspired by water polo player and Olympian Ben Hallock.

“Ben Hallock is a professional water polo player that inspires me because we both play the same positions and he works hard and is committed to his team,” Olsen continued. “He’s a very tough player.”

Hallock was selected to play water polo for the 2016 United States Summer Olympics Water Polo team following his high school graduation in 2016.

The Harvard-Westlake High School graduate enjoyed a storied water polo career during his high school days, posting 97 goals and 86 assists in his final season to earn the 2015 Daily News Player of the Year award and to be named the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year. Hallock also led the team to a CIF title the year before as a junior.

“He’s shown me that hard work pays off so my hard work will pay off,” said Olsen.

Sophmore baseball and soccer player Johnathan Haverland looks up to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right fielder, Kole Calhoun.

Calhoun inspires Haverland “…because he has achieved so much in his life and is the starting right fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I admire his work ethic and how much work he has put in to get to where he is today and I hope I can achieve that same type of success someday.”

Haverland also admires Calhoun’s tenacity and never say die attitude. An example of this came in the 2018 season when Calhoun went into a horrid slump to kick off the season that had him hitting .187 by the end of the first half of the season. Rather than giving in and letting the horrible streak of hitting continue, Calhoun worked through it and hit .231 in the second half to bring his season batting average to .208 (just above a Major League hitter’s worst nightmare, the “Mendoza Line”).

“I admire the way that he never gave up after posting a very low batting average at the beginning of the season and he worked on his stance and made other key hitting adjustments and bounced back to post a solid average and become their leadoff hitter,” Haverland continued. “I think that that is a very important trait to have and be able to use to your advantage,” he said.

Regardless of these different athletes’ upbringing, the financial situation they were born into, the adversity they faced, the naysayers, the setbacks, the injuries, the failures, and the non-believers, they found a way to reach the pinnacle of their profession’s realm and not only get there but stay in that position by performing at a level matched by few in the world.

The idea that professional athletes can come out of such adversity and make something of themselves on a national and sometimes worldwide scale is inspiring because it allows people to dream and know that that dream has been attained by some before and can be accomplished again.

Everyone can look at an athlete that has followed their dreams and realize that that kind of success is a possibility in their lives if they work hard enough.