RESEARCH PAPER ON HOW DOES SPORTING HEROES INFLUENCE TEENAGERS WITH THEIR BEHAVIOR

HOW DOES SPORTING HEROES INFLUENCE TEENAGERS WITH THEIR BEHAVIOR

Abstract

            With more emphasis being put on sports, the players have become very influential to the supporters. As a result, the media portrayal of a player as good translates to being equated to a hero or role model. Therefore, a sporting hero can be defined as a sports personality that has acquired fame through his or her unique capability to play in that specific sport. The aim of this report is to provide an understanding of how sporting heroes impact teenagers. Here, the objective is to help the teenagers make proper decisions in selecting a sporting hero whom they can emulate in the future. Secondly, the aim of this report is to inform the sporting heroes that they are influential people in society. This paper provides an understanding of the influence of sporting heroes to teenagers through their behavior. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to draw a conclusion about how sporting hero behavior affects teenagers. This report will use a quantitative research methodology (Dees, 2000).  A quantitative approach is the best research technique for this study because it is cheap and it incorporates other statistical methods used in data analysis that are essential for analyzing a large population. The research sample was conducted to 100 high school students in grades nine to twelve, approximately in the age bracket of 14-19 years. The sample was identified at random during the national high school sports competition. The research has concluded that sporting heroes are very influential people for teenagers. Secondly, the media are an important communication tool that provides information about sporting heroes. Another important conclusion from the study is that different teenagers have varying perceptions of selecting sporting heroes. For future research, it is important to investigate the role of media in its responsibility to alter the meaning of sporting heroes.

Introduction

            Teenagers have different role models whom they refer for their personality development. They are major between the age group of thirteen to nineteen years. Since they still undergo development, they are prone to be predisposed by around them. However, the media serve as a medium of communication that provides information for teenagers to select their preferred role models. However, selection of role models is imperative for the teenagers because it determines their future growth. Here, teenagers obtain and develop their ambition from the behavior of their preferred role models. Sports have become a very important source of entertainment for most people across the world. The evolution of sports practices dates back to the history of the world. It has been carried from the Greeks and roman culture to the present world. The only difference has been the incorporation of new rules and advancement of more sports. With more emphasis being put on sports, the players have become very influential to the supporters. Improvement of technology has enabled people to support sports from any part of the world. For example, through the television and internet technology, people can watch their favorite game live as it is played in the field. As a result, the media portrayal of a player as good translates to being equated to a hero or role model. For this reason, advertising agencies have targeted sports personalities as instruments of attracting customers. As such, advertisements use best sports personalities because they have a great following in the society. The concept behind using best sports personalities is because they act as heroes and they have the ability to influence their supporters about a certain issue in the society.  Therefore, a sporting hero can be defined as a sports personality that has acquired fame through his or her unique capability to play in that specific sport. Here, sporting heroes bear a huge impact to their supports in the society. Additionally, the sporting heroes live a normal life from sports, and it is possible that they can influence other people through their actions.

            Role models can act as heroes and mentors on the side of their followers, especially if they demonstrate unique capabilities. Such people have the ability to alter the way of life of an individual based on their own behavior. For this reason, sporting heroes have strategically been used to communicate information to certain target group to achieve an alteration of behavior. In this perspective, a sporting hero is used as a role model. According to Yancey (1998), a sporting role model can be defined as an athlete that is “perceived as exemplary, or worthy of imitation” (254). This definition implies that a sporting hero is a sports personality who can inspire other groups of people through either contact or association. Additionally, a sporting hero can act as a mentor to a greater perspective. The media especially through the television and newspapers have carried articles about the road to success for the sporting heroes. These articles end up with a piece of advice for aspiring persons on how to achieve that level of success. Here, the sporting hero stipulates the necessary blueprint that can lead a teenager to become a sporting hero (Starcevich 1998).Lines (2001) assert that a hero is at the same time a role model when he claimed that a hero is a “person distinguished for courage, fortitude, or deeds, its meaning is adaptable between cultures and through time” (287). Interestingly, although a hero acts as a role model, they may at the same time influence the following in a negative way through imitating the deviant behavior.

            Teenagers form the bulk of the population that can be influenced by sporting personalities. Here, teenagers are in the age bracket where they are still discovering their sports talents. In addition, being students in schools and colleges, sports are a significant part of the curriculum. As a result, teenagers are given the opportunity to try to discover their talent for various sports. It is obvious that they will identify the best player in their sport of interest and emulate his skills. This is done in realization that through emulating the player a teenager can attain such heroism. However, this is not limited to the sporting skills alone, but it extends to the private life of the sports personality. Therefore, sporting heroes influence their supporters both in a positive and negative way. Similarly, most parents in the modern world have transferred their responsibility of taking care of their children to the teachers and day care controllers. Here, young children are taken to school at a young age simply because parents have limited time at their disposal to care for their children. Due to this parental care void, teenagers find refuge in sporting heroes to emulate and develop their personalities. As such, it correctly argued that sporting heroes not only entertain teenagers, but they act as role models as well.

            The background of this report has indicated that sporting heroes are at the same time regarded as role models. The purpose of this report is to elaborate on the impact of sporting heroes on teenagers through their behavior. The concept of a sporting hero being as a role model is very significant because it is the manner in which a teenager will be attracted to a specific sports personality. However, the ability of sporting heroes to influence teenagers changes with time due to other factors in the sports industry (Glover 1978). The life of a teenager involves emulating the peers to develop their personalities. At this age, the teenagers meet different people and issues in the world and his preferred role models as teachers and parents’ changes immediately. Here, the newfound role model can be in the form of athletes, television superstars, and pop stars (French & Pena 1991). A sporting hero will stand out as a role model for a teenager who has a desire of being a start in a specific sport. However, emulating the sporting hero will progress further from just sports activities to the private life of such an individual. Therefore, the purpose of this report serves to provide an undertaking about the importance of understanding the nature of sporting heroes and their influence to the teenagers through their behavior.

            A teenager is still undergoing the developmental process, and it is sometimes difficult to identify the ideal image for a sporting role model. It is assumed that a true sporting hero is that whose qualities and principles are an admiration of the teenager. In this regard, a teenager will; select a role model based on his or her perceived future life. This provides a challenge because; teenagers may select a single quality of a sporting hero, but fail to consider other negative qualities. As a result, such teenagers end up emulating other bad qualities from the sporting hero. For example, Jack Wilshire is a sporting hero who plays for Arsenal football club. Recently, he was caught smoking in public, and this caused much debate. Here, many teenagers who admire to be like Wilshire can as well start smoking in the belief that it is one of the behaviors that propelled him to fame in the world of football. Therefore, the impact of a successful sporting role model to a teenager is based on good and bad role models. This implies that teenagers have to be taught on how to select the ideal sporting heroes to emulate. Similarly, a role model should not be just an individual who has obtained fame or success through sports, but he should be a positive individual whom they can emulate.

            The aim of this report is to provide an understanding on how sporting heroes impact on teenagers. Here, the objective is to help the teenagers make proper decisions in selecting a sporting hero whom they can emulate in the future. For example, having a sporting hero who does not use drugs is ideal in molding the behavior of teenagers. Once such a positive role model is identified at a render age, the teenager will be able to resist bad behavior like drug abuse in the future.  Sporting heroes are role models whether they affect the teenagers; positively or negatively. Therefore, having a basic knowledge on how to select a role model is the first stage in establishing a good behavior for the teenagers. Secondly, the aim of this report is to inform the sporting heroes that they are influential people in the society. Ordinarily, a sporting hero has at his or her disposal the decision to use the talent in a positive or negative way. However, in some cases, sporting heroes never intend to affect the teenagers negatively. Therefore, through presenting the high expectation of the society from them will communicate an important issue in the society. Here, those heroes with negative behaviors may display their characteristics in private so that it cannot be emulated by the teenagers.

            This paper provides the connection regarding the influence of sporting heroes to teenagers through their behavior. Sporting heroes act as communication tool that is strategic at transmitting information from one culture to the other. The purpose of the study is to understand how the sporting hero behavior affects teenagers. After developing this intercultural communication relationship, the report will serve to achieve two major aims. Firstly, it will acts as a basis for the teenagers to select the ideal sporting heroes to work as their preferred role models. Secondly, it will communicate to the sporting heroes a strong message that their actions and behavior is very influential in the society. Therefore, this will compel the sporting heroes to act in dignity in public places. To achieve the purpose of this report, an extensive literature review about the impact of a sporting hero behavior on a teenager will be carried out. This will be followed by a qualitative research to justify the ideas obtained from the literature review.

Literature review

            In the modern world, sporting heroes have been given a lot of media attention. This is because they are a major source of entertainment for many people across the world. However, media attention is not based on individual personality, but it mainly focuses on the prowess and talent of the sporting hero. Here, the hero may as well display his or her weakness through the media. As such, there is a debate about whether good behavior sporting heroes should be focused by the media. On the contrary, teenagers tend to be attracted to sporting heroes without understanding about their personalities. Similarly, the inquisitive nature of teenagers underscores the importance of sporting heroes behaving well because they play a significant role as role models. This literature review will provide existing information about the influence of sporting heroes’ behavior on teenagers. Here, more emphasis will be taken to identify ways through which teenagers choose role models, how the sporting heroes behavior influence their thoughts and what role does the media play in demonstrating the behavior of role models.

            Sporting heroes are athletes who have obtained success through their unique talent in particular sports. Additionally, as teenagers like sporting heroes, they develop a hero worship.  Here, sporting heroes have an extended responsibility of being a role model. As such, it is important to define the term role model for purposes of this literature review. It is essential to identify a role model as a prominent individual depicting a certain behavior that is likely to be emulated by a certain group of people in optimism that it will be beneficial to them in the future. Teenagers form a bulk of the human population that is highly influenced by sporting heroes. This is because teenagers have a great interest in sports, and they are highly likely to emulate their preferred sporting heroes in belief that it is the road to achieving such greatness. As a result, teenagers refer to their chosen sporting heroes as a point of reference in developing their individual talents. Thus, it is assumed that a sporting heroes’ behavior is likely to be copied by the teenager in the process. According to Rick (2011),he claims that high standards prevail in the field of athletics because the teenagers view them positively as role models. Fish (2009), claims that sporting heroes have a significant role in developing the society explained the extended responsibility of sporting heroes. Here, he argued that they are important public figures who have a greater influence to the behavior of teenagers.

            The impact of a successful sports hero to a teenager can only be understood after a preliminary literature review. The purpose of the review is to demonstrate already existing research issues about the topic. These findings will serve as the basis of the research so that to validate whether the new findings are true or false. The development stages of a teenager take various stages in life where many kinds of people influence the well-being. Members of the family act as the first role models for teenagers during the tender age. However, Fitzclarence & Hickey (1998) established that other role models from sports have a strong influence to the life of a teenager. In another research,  French & Pena (1991) found out that children tend to change the preference of whom they want to be in the future with time. The findings further reveal that parents, family members and teachers, influence initial preferences but they change to other peers with time. In the research, French and Penal claimed that this change of preference was based on a shift in focus on individuality and characters in television. On the other hand, this particular research work provided a clear understanding about the role of gender differences in selecting role models. They found out that males tend to categorize role models from athletes, whereas most females do not consider much about sports heroes (French & Pena 1991). As such, this is an indication that teenagers use television as a communication channel for identifying role models.

            In a similar research, Biskup & Pfister (1999) claimed that male and female teenagers in Germany considered athletes as role models. Interviews in the research indicated that boys favored sporting heroes as their role models whilst pop stars influence girls. In the position of boys, Biskup and Pfister explained that boys are aggressive, strong and have the ability to get things done. As such, they prefer sporting heroes because they have these qualities. On the other side, girls prefer pop stars because of their pretty appearance and good social behavior. In a similar dimension, Ewens & Lashuk (1989) claimed that male sporting heroes are preferred to female sportswomen to be considered role models. However, female teenagers have a strong, appealing top screen and magazine individuals as their preferred role models (Lines 2001). However, the findings of this research were biased because it emphasized more on male sporting heroes than the females.

            The impact of sporting heroes’ behavior on teenagers is the subject of this report. Literature review shows that such sporting heroes influence teenagers both positively and negatively. This is based on their actions or utterances that are exercised in the public domain. However, Globus (1998) realized that most sporting heroes strive to portray a positive character through participation in charity activities and mentorship programs. The society believes that athletes have a specific role to play in molding the behavior of teenagers. Here, the sporting heroes understand that through their behavior teenagers are influenced greatly. For example, Cheryl Miller claimed that “when you reach a certain level of visibility, you are a role model whether you like it or not” (Globus 1998 p28). Contrarily, sporting heroes can as well be negative influences to teenagers. This can be in the form of inappropriate or illegal actions that are made to appear conspicuous in the mass media coverage (Globus 1998). Although sporting heroes may act as a positive role model to teenagers, it is possible that their attitudes and practices influence the environment negatively (Fitzclarence & Hickey 1998). Additionally, men dominate some sports, and this sends a patriarchal thought through the media. As such, teenagers develop their behavior based on such sports heroes (Bryson 1983). Consequently, the modeling behavior of teenagers from sporting heroes is influenced by both on-field behavior and extra curriculum activities that are often practiced in social places like nightclubs (Fitzclarence & Hickey 1998). Interestingly, Line (2001) established that the media plays an important role I influencing the role model for teenagers. However, more emphasis of the media on the sporting hero will reveal more private information about that personality. In this regard, some information the additional information may be negative and it will cause the teenager to leave that sporting hero as a role model. According to Line (2001), increased media focus on sporting heroes will reveal social problems, especially where these heroes are “ seen using and abusing drugs and alcohol, beating wives and girlfriends and having extra marital affairs” (292).

             The impact of sporting hero’s actions on motor behavior provides an important basis of this research. Here, it has been established that influence of a role model coupled with instructional lessons will influence positively the behavior of a teenager.  For example, sporting heroes have been used on educational programs because teenager tends to appreciate any advice given by sporting personalities. Changing the smoking behavior of teenagers was also found to be possible with sporting heroes. Oygard et al. (1995) established that role models could influence the behavior of teenagers positively. Here, the study claimed that teenagers identify appropriateness of actions that influence their response. Sporting heroes have an extensive role to play besides offering entertainment. As such, they should conduct their responsibilities in accordance to the expectation of the society (Jones & Schumann, 2000). Bad behavior among sporting heroes like drug abuse, inhumane acts, and illegal off-field activities have a major impact to the life of teenagers. According to Jones & Schumann (2000) media portrayal of sporting hero’s influences teenagers to emulate such bad behavior. According to Lines (2001) “sports role models  can shape young admirers’ attitudes  and behaviors and an adolescents’ demeanor, fashion, language and mindset may be influenced  by the analogous traits of favored sporting heroes”(292).

Methodology

            This report will use quantitative research methodology (Dees 2000).  Quantitative approach is the best research technique for this study  because it is cheap and it incorporates other statistical methods used in data analysis that are essential for analysing a large population. Further, a quantitative methodology supports a high degree of objectivity in the process of data collection (Dees 2000), which serves as a vital aspect required to provide high levels of validity for the collected information because biases would be eliminated. A comparative research system will be applied to the process of data collection and evaluation of information because it will make it possible for investigating and developing an assessment between the research hypothesis to the impact of a sports hero’s deeds on young people as obtained in literature review and prime study findings of this particular research paper. This will be important in developing a deeper analysis of the research issue. The research sample will be conducted to 100 high school students in the grades nine to twelve, approximately in the age bracket of 14-19 years. The sample will be identified at random during the national high school sports competition. The representative sample is ideal for this study because it will provide teenagers who are interested in sports. As such, their response to sporting heroes will be good, and this will give validity of the results.

            This study will employ two approaches in the collection of data, both primary and secondary data collection. A primary data collection will involve observations of a sporting hero image in comparison to a student’s ideal preferred image (self-concept) and real image. Here, three variables will be used to collect information. These include; what are they, preference of what they want to be, and a rating of their personal selected sporting hero. The interview will be based on the Harter’s test with three main questions that include; “how I would like to be?”, “what my sports hero is like” and what is your real sporting hero. Secondly, the data collection procedure will make use of secondary sources from the literature review

. This is essential because the literature search will authenticate the results of the study whether they are valid or inconsistent with other findings in the same topic. The data will be obtained from various secondary resources such as journals, books, magazines, and other sources of online materials will be basically used in this study.  Secondary technique of collecting information requires less time, it is affordable and presents a broad topic area for the study. Additionally, secondary data acts as a take-off point for any study; however, the investigators ought to take extra provisions during the process because the statistics may be obsolete and may not provide the exact reason of the research (Creswell 2003). Besides using time effectively, money, and power, secondary data has a width in its data collection. This allows the researchers to investigate the tendency as well as transformations of phenomenon with time. Particularly, using secondary facts enables new single researchers to be guided by the knowledge and professionalism outlined in secondary materials (Franklin 2012).

            The data obtained from this particular study survey will be evaluated to demonstrate whether the responses answered the specific research questions. Data coding will assist the researcher to identify the concepts and arguments as they are presented. The quantitative technique can be investigated statistically making it possible to describe purposely what data is indicating. The investigator will be more concerned by quantitative information because it gives a wide room for its authenticity to be scientifically confirmed. Therefore, the data obtainable in this study survey will be evaluated based on three categories presented in the research questions. The results will then be entered on a single sheet for the three categories and an average of the results given. The questions that are open to the student’s response will be analyzed on the basis of a common issue among the teenagers. The response that is given by most teenagers will be identified as a major concern. The result of a single sheet that represents the data of the 100 high school students gives the validation of the research. However, a common response based on observations of the teenagers will be generalized as the valid response from the study sample. The three questions used in the data collection process will provide a good response to the study question. Through analysis of the single questions independently, the results for the study will present a precise response. Additionally, using observation strategies will predict how teenagers are influenced by the behavior of sporting heroes. However, the secondary data will serve as a reference point for the study. Therefore, the conclusions will serve to validate or render obsolete earlier findings.

Findings

Selecting sports heroes

             In the study, 100 sporting personalities were displayed for the teenagers to select their chosen hero. The sporting heroes were obtained from different sports so that it would fit with the varied sports preference for the teenagers. Among the 100 sampled students, 47 students selected heroes in baseball sport, basketball was selected by 23 teenagers, 21 favored footballers while the rest selected other sports. A high number of teenagers who selected baseball was because most of them were interviewed as the game progressed. This indicates that all those who were surveyed at that time had interests in the game. Interestingly, out of the 50 sampled male teenagers, only one selected a female as his preferred sporting hero. This indicates that the media has played a key role in manipulating the choice of sporting heroes. Here, the media portrayal of sporting heroes was very strong that all teenagers selected those that would fit their desire. Thus, the selection of sporting heroes was based on sports competence, job satisfaction, and physical appearance. Therefore, sporting heroes act as a communication tool that can influence the selection of role models in teenagers.

            Based on this study finding, sporting heroes should have a positive behavior because they greatly influence teenagers in the society. The action and behavior of sporting heroes has a tendency of becoming a common behavior among teenagers because the media propagate it. In this regard, sporting personalities who are demonstrated in the media should demonstrate a behavior that is acceptable in the society. Among the sporting heroes that were selected was Tiger Woods. He is a tennis genius who has received a lot of media attention. However, his lack of respect for his family and marriage is a bad influence to teenagers. Every teenager who has the interest in tennis believes that behaving like Tiger Woods will give him such a high sporting hero status. In addition, Europeans do not only favor his influence in the game, but he has a huge following across all cultures. Therefore, sporting heroes send a strong message to their followers across all cultures because there is no barrier of communication. Consequently, it is worthy for the sporting heroes to take responsibility of their actions and conduct themselves properly to avoid influencing teenagers negatively. As such, it is prudent to say that a good sporting hero should focus on education teenagers across institutions about good morals. In this perspective, although Tiger Woods may be favored as a sporting hero, the society might not regard him as a role model. On the contrary, the teenager may emulate the behavior of the sporting hero whereas the society may dislike his or her behavior. This finding is steady with the previous existing literature by Smith & Stewart (2013) who claimed that sporting heroes ought to display virtues and decency in their behavior. Further, he claims, “the angry outburst by Serena Williams in the US one woman’s final games was a let down to the young boys and girls viewing her as a role model” (3). This is vital because such sporting hero behavior can influence the teenage upcoming heroes and greatly hamper their future ambitions.

The self-concept and portrayal of sports heroes’ image

            The results of the research indicate that real and ideal image of sporting heroes take preference among the teenagers. The real image of the sporting hero received a high score compared to the ideal image. Here, it is clear that teenagers focus of the sporting hero competence. However, the ideal image is still significant because other teenagers view it as well. The low score of the ideal image is because most sporting heroes do not behave badly during the onset of their career. However, due to continued media attention, it is possible to reveal the private life of that sporting hero to the teenagers. Since the teenagers develop a hero’s worship syndrome for the athlete, the negative private life can influence the teenagers. Through observing the conduct of the teenagers, the study obtained that the behavior of sporting heroes fell below the desired ideal and real image. The varied behavior perspective of different sporting heroes is because they come from different cultural backgrounds. The communication strategies used in these different societies cannot be understood in the same context among all teenagers. Therefore, the determination of a bad behavior among the sporting heroes is based on the background of the teenager. As such, it is important for the sporting heroes to identify the perceived behavior of the society so that they do not fall short of the expectations. However, these findings indicate that the society has a role to play in perpetuating that their teenagers grow-up possessing positive virtues. This will help them identify good role models from the sporting heroes.

For a long time, sports have been a central part of the diverse cultures across the globe.  It has been perceived as a source of entertainment and inspiration (Smith & Stewart 2013).  The sports personalities who excel in their games are viewed as talented.  As a result of this, the society talks well of them and encourage everyone to emulate them.  Young people have always considered sports personalities for inspiration to achieve success.  With the media attention on sports personality having increased significantly, they have been viewed as heroes in the society (Smith & Stewart 2013).  From the way they are presented in advertisements to the stories told about them in the papers, people’s minds are filled with thoughts of these heroes.  Since sport plays a central role in the society, the sports personalities are at the end viewed as role models.  A role model is someone whose success causes others, especially the young ones, to emulate their personality (Smith & Stewart 2013).  Those who know them admire their personality and success.  This implies they influence the future generation in a great way.  Given this major role that sports heroes play in the society, it is imperative to understand the kind of influence that they have on the teenagers.  Modern day parenting is highly strained due to the commitments that parents have of providing for their children.  Parents, therefore, lack the time to spend with their teenagers to help influence the kind of people they become in the future.  Most people acquire their personality during their teenage (Wann 2010).  Therefore, sports heroes have a significant role in shaping the kind of people teenagers grows up to be.  Teenagers identify and emulate their favorite sports heroes.  The influence from these sports heroes on the teenagers can be either positive or negative.  Therefore, this paper will look at how these sporting heroes influence teenager in their behavior.

Sporting heroes can influence teenagers either positively or negatively.  At teenage, character is not fully developed (Wann 2010).  These young people engage in the process of identifying themselves and the kind of people they aspire to be in the future.  Therefore, their behavior development will be greatly shaped by their heroes.  Most communities adore sports heroes, and therefore young people will identify with their favorite heroes and emulate them.  According to research done by Wann (2010), sports heroes significantly shape teenagers’ behavior development through their winning and personal life.  Through observation, these young people notice how these heroes use hostility in winning, and its acceptability.  At the end of the day, when the teenager associates the hero’s victory to this behavior, they end up attempting to be like these heroes in character (White & O’Brien 2010).  Teenagers will be more likely to copy the character that is rewarded than that which is not.  On the other hand, teenagers can also learn bad behavior that cannot be rewarded.  When they learn that their heroes do the same too and get away with it, then they will copy it.  They will often engage in this bad behavior in the absence of those who may disapprove.  This way, the influence of these sports heroes will be detrimental to the proper development of a teenager’s behavior.

The good influence of sporting role models is that which results in teenagers developing a positive behavior and qualities.  Positive behavior leads to a better person and ultimately a better nation.  Young people believe in their role models because they get encouraged.  Sports heroes encourage young people better because they are a living example.  For instance, long distance runners are sports heroes that young people view as icons.  Through discipline, hard work, and resilience, these long distance runners are able to complete very long races.  The distance that they cover is very long and tiresome.  Dehydration, fatigue, and monotony of the road may tempt the runner to quit.  While many runners begin a race, most of them end up quitting before completing.  Those who quit do so because of poor planning, inadequate preparation, and lack of a winner’s personality (White & O’Brien 2010).  However, those who planned well and practiced enough before the race are able to run to the end.  They stay on course despite the tough challenges and the easy temptation to quit.  By associating with such role models, teenagers get reassured that they will achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched it appears to be.  These teenagers learn to be patient, resilient, and objective just like their sports heroes (White & O’Brien 2010).  They follow in the footsteps of their sports icons.  While they may not have the same goal as their sports heroes, these teenagers’ behavior is influenced positively.  They are able to relate to their heroes’ success and hence work hard in achieving their own.  

Most sports heroes acknowledge their role in the mentorship, and therefore they use their position to influence young people against bad habits.  Teenage is a very vulnerable stage of one’s development because it is when self-identity is developing (Whitley, Sage & Butcher 2011).  At this critical stage in their lives, young people are easily influenced.  They always want to be associated with someone or something.  They, therefore, resort in joining gangs.  Through these gangs, teenagers’ behavior deteriorates under the influence of others.  The older, ill-behaved companions in those gangs influence them.  They end up acquiring behaviors such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence.  Young females end up losing self-esteem and self-worth.  When this happens, these teenage girls resort to agreeing with everything they are asked to do.  Some resort to offering sex in exchange for acceptance and approval from other people.  Their emptiness is largely contributed by failure to identify themselves with someone success in life.  Had such teenagers identified with sports heroes, their perception of self and general behavior could have been shaped positively.  Young people are more likely to listen and obey someone they adore (Whitley et al., 2011).  Acknowledging the influence sports heroes have on teenagers, most campaigns against drug abuse use these figures to discourage the young population against the vice.  The sports heroes are shown on several media platforms advocating good morals.  Since these teenagers love them, the advice that sports heroes give goes a long way in shaping their behavior.  At an early age, these teenagers develop stamina against peer pressure that could otherwise lead them to destructive habits.

Although sports heroes are supposed to affect positively the society, some have influenced young people into destructive habits.  With the increase media coverage on the personal lives of these heroes, so much is known about their personal lives.  Teenagers’ impression of their sports heroes is that of discipline and self-control.  For teenagers, their role models embody all the good habits that they desire to develop.  However, with the current efficient communication and media coverage, these teenagers are exposed to the bad side of these sports heroes.  For instance, Tiger Woods, the golf champion, was a role model to many due to how he was known.  He was viewed as a humble, good mannered champion who did not allow his success and celebrity status ruins his character (Yancey 1998).  However, at the peak of his career, his bad side was exposed.  His extramarital affairs and oversexed habit tainted his image greatly (Yancey 1998).  Teenagers are not able to realize that Tiger Woods is just human and prone to making mistakes.  For some who held him in high esteem, they were broken in the failure of their star.  The impact that this could have had on many is that they too will not make it without failing.  He caused them to doubt their ability to fulfill their dreams.  For others, learning about the evil side of Tiger Woods made them complacent.  His failure made them view success without bad image as illusion.  These effects on teenagers are bad for their behavioral growth.  Sports heroes should, therefore, acknowledge the fact that their actions will affect the young generation around the world.  They should, therefore, offer a positive image for the sake of these children.

Further, sports heroes are important in the society.  With millions of teenagers eager to achieve greatness like their heroes, the purpose of their existence is justified.  While heroes are expected to have a positive influence on the young and upcoming people, their influence may be negative at times.  When this happens, these teenagers’ behavior is negatively influenced.  Most parents have less time to spend molding their children.  Sports heroes serve as the icons for these young people while they grow up.  Since these teenagers love them, the advice that sports heroes give goes a long way in shaping their behavior.  At an early age, these teenagers develop stamina against peer pressure that could otherwise lead them to destructive habits.  They follow in the footsteps of their sports icons.  While they may not have the same goal as their sports heroes, these teenagers’ behavior is influenced positively.  They are able to relate to their heroes’ success and hence work hard in achieving their own.  On the other hand, teenagers can also learn bad behavior that cannot be rewarded.  They will often engage in this bad behavior in the absence of those who may disapprove.  This way, the influence of these sports heroes will be detrimental to the proper development of a teenager’s behavior.  While it may be difficult to have all the sports heroes act responsibly for the sake of the young ones, informing them of their role in these teenagers’ lives will have most of them care to conduct themselves responsibly.  At the same time, these teenagers should be educated to pick the best character of their stars.  In this education, the teenagers should be advised to pick out the best habits so that they can be truly successful.  Further, forums should be organized where the sports heroes engage the teenager’s advice them on the best practices.

Conclusion

            This study has found out that sporting heroes do not satisfy all the expectation of the society. They are highly valued for as a source of entertainment and role models. Most teenagers select their sporting heroes based on the influence of the media based on their sports competence, job satisfaction, and physical appearance. The media is a planned communication tool that is used for advertising the sporting heroes. At first, the portrayal of sporting heroes confers to the ideal image of a teenager because only information about his sports competence is made available. However, with time, more private information regarding the life of the hero is demonstrated through the media. At this point, the sporting hero’s behavior can influence the teenager both positively or negatively. Here, the perception of the influence is based on the societal understanding of behavior. Teenagers are influenced by sporting heroes’ behavior through media propagation. In addition, they select their role models due to the familiarity and fame that is demonstrated through the media. Although the ideal image can vary from one teenager to the other, in the end, their behavior is influenced. Media coverage depicting the negative behavior of sporting heroes present a motivation to the teenager, for example, Tiger Woods was depicted in the media for disrespecting their family and there was a debate about his life. Whereas the society condemned his behavior, a group of people held the position that it was his private life. Therefore, it is clear that a section of the population is influenced by the behavior of sporting heroes. Conversely, there is another instance of media portrayal that most sporting heroes are not highly learned. This bad signal makes most teenagers leave school for sporting career.

            Based on the extensive findings of this particular study, various conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, sporting heroes are very influential people for the teenagers. This is because teenagers are active participants in sports, and they choose the successful sporting heroes to help them develop their career. Here, a teenager tends to emulate the life of a sporting hero in belief that it is the best way of achieving such sporting success. In addition, it was clear that a teenager interested in a particular game would only select a sporting hero in their sport of interest. The desire to achieve the success as the preferred hero is the driving force for selecting a preferred sporting hero. Therefore, sporting heroes act as role models for teenagers. Secondly, the media is an important communication tool that provides information about the sporting heroes. At first, teenagers seek the media to identify successful athletes in their preferred sports. Here, teenagers view sporting heroes as a complex entity including their success and private life. The media giving an athlete more attention demonstrated this. As such, more information about the sporting hero is made available about that particular athlete. Interestingly, at this point the teenager is not able to select good or bad behavior from the sporting hero. As a result, the teenager will emulate any behavior, in this regard, it is important for the media to demonstrate a positive behavior about the athlete. Similarly, the sporting g heroes ought to understand their extended role in the society and behave properly, especially in the public domain.

            Another important conclusion from the study is that different teenagers have varying perceptions of selecting sporting heroes. Whereas the society views sporting heroes who demonstrate negative behavior as bad people, other teenagers still view such personalities as heroes. Therefore, the criteria of selecting a hero rest on the individual perspective of the teenagers, this implies that the influence of a sporting hero’s behavior towards a teenager depends on his or her perspective. Here, whatever the teenager identifies in a sporting hero is the basis of his or her selection. For example, the study showed that most male teenagers prefer male sporting heroes whereas female teenagers hold a contrary opinion. As such, male teenagers depend on the media to select their sporting hero whereas females are more interested with appearance. In this regard, it is difficult to condemn sporting heroes about their behavior.

            The methodology of this study relied heavily on students in grade nine to twelve. Although the sample representative was all from sporting teenagers, students do not present an ideal generalization of all teenagers. As such, the sample used for this study failed to present a diverse sample, and this has considerably decreased the external validity of this study findings. For the future, I propose that the methodology should involve other non-schooling teenagers.  Another limitation of the study is that it failed to address the research question of whether the influence of the sporting behavior is permanent to the teenagers. In the future research, it is important to include qualitative research and investigate whether the behavioral influence is permanent. Similarly, another important topic for research should involve investigating on the role of media in its responsibility to alter the meaning of sporting heroes.

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