Young Athletes Learn From Sports Celebrities' Mistakes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Young Athletes Learn From Sports Celebrities' Mistakes

"One, two, three, Raiders!" a team of young football players screamed.

This pre-game battle cry is something 11 year old Gaetano Mascara looks forward to every week.

"When you're out here, you don't even feel like yourself, you feel like you're someone else," Mascara said as he prepared to take the field.  

When he plays, Mascara once envisioned Michael Vick running down the sidelines. But Vick's walk into the courtroom over dog-fighting charges changed everything.

"Now I don't like him at all, I can't believe he could do that to animals and stuff," Mascara said.

His new opinion of a once-admired player proves that good decision-making means more than scoring touchdowns and winning games.

"You could be the best NFL player ever, and then off the field, you get caught with crack. That could destroy your career, you will get fired," 12 year old Jared Sorgenfrei said.  

Today's superstar athletes make the big bucks and the big headlines for their plays on the field, but it's the people in the stands who have the greatest impact on young people's lives.

Football mom Donna Daeyer says it's up to parents to teach right from wrong, not professional athletes. 

"Alot of kids have that strong home base. We might not see it in the big leagues because they lost it somewhere along the way, but they had it at one point," Daeyer said.  

Watching star athletes fall from grace has taught these young players, success isn't just found in the end-zone.  

"I would have to say Adrian Peterson. He's on one of the worst teams, but that doesn't get him down, he still gives it all he can no matter what happens," Sorgenfrei said.

With that mentality, there's a victory for everyone to celebrate.

Some of the other athletes the young players mentioned as positive role models are Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, and Joe Horn.

By Keli Rabon

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