Growing up, young athletes all over the world are inspired by professional athletes. Athletes have the power to bring people together and to influence others to follow in their footsteps, whether that be in cleats or sneakers.
For KSC athlete Kyle Shadeck, he said that professional athletes have helped him face and overcome adversities in his swim career. “It’s important to have professional role models because they help athletes understand key life concepts such as dedication, sacrifice, and how to work with others,” Shadeck said.
For Shadeck, Michael Phelps has always been one of his most prominent professional role models. Since Shadeck started swimming he has admired Phelps as an athlete, idolizing him for his talent and work ethic. “For starters, I probably would’ve never started swimming had it not been for Phelps. I’ve always been inspired by his sheer mental toughness, no matter what hardships he was going through. He always handled victories and defeats with such class and grace, teaching me how to behave myself.”
On top of them, Shadeck said that Phelps has also shown him what it takes, training wise, to be successful in his sport. Shadeck said, “He’s taught me to apply that same mentality in my own training.”
Much like Shadeck, senior Connor Johnson also believes that professional athletes provide a dynamic way for young athletes to learn and grow. “I admire all of them because it takes a certain amount of work ethic to get to that level, but I’d say specifically [I admire] Derek Jeter,” said Johnson.
Johnson said that Jeter has always been one of his favorites because he plays baseball with skill and performs at a high level. Johnson said, “He plays the game the right way and he does everything off the field the right way.”
As a pitcher, Johnson said that every athlete’s a little different, but that being able to improve by watching and following the mechanics and fundamentals of professionals has helped him in his own pitching career. “You don’t want to model yourself completely after somebody… but I feel like if you don’t have a role model that you’re striving to be like, then you won’t even get into it anyways,” said Johnson.
Junior Sophie Bushey said that many of the professional athletes that she watched as a young athlete contributed to her love for basketball and sports in general. “Born into a family of Boston fans, I was raised watching the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, New England Revolution, and the Bruins,” Bushey said.
As a basketball player, Bushey said, “I became a huge fan of Rajon Rondo when he played for the Celtics. I still follow his career and think he is one of the most intellectual and creative point guards in the NBA.”
Bushey added, “And of course, there is no one better to emulate in their dedication to their sport other than Tom Brady. Drafted in the sixth round, number 199, out of college, he has become the greatest of all time.”
Much like Shadeck and Johnson, Bushey said that professional athletes and role models are important because they show leadership qualities and dedication.
“They are inspirations to all athletes because of the amount of work they put in year round,” said Bushey.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at