I opened a thank-you note from my nephew Garrett the other day, and was stunned to find that he’d tacked this sentence onto the end of an otherwise typical graduation gift response: “Also, thank you Aunt Tanya for being such a big role model for me and teaching me how to stay in shape.”
This, coming from an all-state football player who, as a freshman cornerback this fall, won a starting job at Marian University in Indianapolis, last year’s NAIA national champions?
I’m not so addle-brained not to realize that he was probably just casting about for something to pad his note with. Obviously, Garrett is in much better shape than I’ll ever be, even after missing the last few weeks of the season with a shoulder injury and mono. But then I got to thinking, maybe he means a role model in the sense of demonstrating how to stay in shape as an aging adult. Now that is a skill, and one that few athletes pick up during their playing days, when they’re typically burning enough calories they can get away with eating pretty much anything they want.
That kid’s going to go far, and not just because he’s a ferocious defender. He also knows how to brown-nose, which is a trait that shouldn’t be overlooked.