Do Role Models Really Exist?

Posted on November 26, 2010

So much is talked about sport stars or pop stars being idols or role models to our children but I am beginning to think, in fact I know this is total bullshit. None of my children idolise anyone, and I don’t see that disposition in any of their friends either. They like varying things and moderately admire certain comedians, singers or sports players, but I don’t see any of them trying or wanting to be anything but themselves. In fact I was speaking to one of George’s friend’s Dad the other day and he was of the opinion that most of kids their age (14) think footballers are twats, something that is not really disputable when you think about it. Boys have role models, but they tend to be their Dad’s or elder siblings rather than anything else and the ones who have a desperate desire to be like Wayne Rooney for instance, have pretty much delusional parents who are guiding them to adore them just because they are famous and for no other reason.

It got me to quiz myself about who I saw as a role model when I was at what is known as an impressionable age, and I struggled to come up with anything really (except my elder Brothers) and like the majority of boys today there were no footballers on my list despite my love of playing the game. I had a fascination with some players after the ticker tape 1978 World cup, but none of them were English, they were more exotic Latin players like Paulo Rossi, Roberto Bettaga and Mario Kempes. All the English players were called boring names like Phil, Trevor and Kevin and they were all shit as well (not much change there then!).  I can clearly remember David Coleman saying “Kempes……………… nil” in that distant microphone voice you used to get at far away World Cups when winning it was more important than playing for your club. There was something sinister about Kempes and the Argentinian team that I liked but I never idolised them which was a good thing considering four years later we were at war with them. If I had got a shirt with Kempes on the back The Sun would have had me flogged in Trafalgar Square and put a picture of me on the front page saying “Up Yer Junta you Little Cunta”.

                                                        Kempes…………………one nil !

The only time I really had any real love of the English team was in 1990 when players like Terry Butcher, Des Walker and Stuart Pearce still seemed like they would share a drink with you. Despite the heat and the limitations of the side, somehow they scrambled their way to a tearful exit in a heroic Semi Final battle against the mighty Germans and my friends and I felt we were with them all the way. Now I despise the England team, they mean nothing to me, and it appears a lot of kids can’t be bothered with them either. I didn’t idolise the team of 1990 or see them as roles models, they just seemed a group of good blokes doing their best. They were like the rest of us except they were better at football.

I have always had a love of music, but again I can’t say I really idolised anyone though I suppose I was influenced by a lot of music by The Jam. Paul Weller was a working class lad from Woking which is pretty similar to Basingstoke and I loved the rawness of The Jam and their anti establishment music, but I also liked the Clash and The Smiths and loads of other bands but I didn’t really idolise them or see them as role models. If you try to be someone else then surely you are not being yourself, isn’t that how people become stalkers? When I used to see people dressed up in the same clothes as Morrisey or Ian McCulloch I thought they were a bit sad and lacked personality of their own, a bit like grown men who wear replica shirts with Rooney on the back. I avoid those people as much as possible, they think they are real characters when in fact they are the opposite. When someone tells you they have a friend who is a “real character” or a “right nutter” translate that in to cunt and you will have your real answer. As for these people who turn up at funerals and have yearly vigils for Elvis Presley….don’t even get me started on that……………

So when you hear on the news about footballers or pricks off The X Factor being role models, give kids a bit more credit than that, they have their own personalities and abilities. However if they are looking up to people like John Terry rather than their elder siblings or parents, there is something wrong in the dynamics of their upbringing. If one of my children started going that way I would do what I could to quash it, because it is not a good idea. Sadly, the few kids who do idolise so called superstars have lacked any direction from parents and the long term damage to their personality could be pretty catastrophic. I go to the football at Reading quite a lot, and studying some adult football fans makes me wonder about the home life they must have gone through as children. Why do these people get tattoos of players names on their guts, arms and legs, it’s a game for goodness sake, it’s a bit of entertainment, not a religion, and certainly not a place to find role models, if their is such a thing. Who told a grown man that an XXXL shirt with Terry or Rooney on it looked cool?

I saw a TV programme a couple of years back where a girl, with the encouragement of her Mother was aspiring to be a make up artist for Jade Goody and I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was incredible stuff. What it did teach me is that children don’t really long for role models, their parents create them after reading about the wonderful lives of so called celebrities in trash mags like ‘OK!’ or ‘Hello!’. Whilst I suppose there is nothing so bad about a bit of escapist trash reading or TV, there is obviously a section of society that takes it seriously and aspires to it, that is utter fucking madness beyond the realms of logical thinking.

Right must crack on, I have a huge poster of Chris Moyles to put up in my bedroom.

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