News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.


By Joe Torosian

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

“All we have is between, hello and goodbye.”

—Graham & Amanda

Torii Hunter had a very modest stint with the Angels…Matt Kemp is having a perfectly horrible first two months of 2013 doing his impression of being a human air conditioner (all he does is fan)…

But these two guys are what all should really aspire to be when they are in the spotlight.

We heard the story earlier this season when Kemp practically handed over his entire game gear to the sick kid up in San Francisco…Then this past week there was a piece on the MLB Network about Hunter playing catch with a kid named “Hunter” who was recovering from leukemia.

These guys don’t have to do this but they do…and its wonderful.

Years ago Charles Barkley gobbled up a lot of headlines when he said he wasn’t a role model, that parents were the role models.

I agree the first role model in any young person’s life should be their parents, but the parents being good or bad does not absolve those in an influential position from living and acting responsibly.

Doing the math from the street I grew up on there were two dads. Both were drunks. Overworked moms ran all the households. How many kids were on the street? 23.

With no male role models, there were 23 young people, 15 of them were boys.

Do you know what a key factor to saving some of us was? And when I say ‘save’ I’m not speaking in the macro, which is Christ, but in the micro which is staying out of jail, going to school, living functional lives…

The key factor for those of us who did make it off that street was sports.

It wasn’t just playing the game, it was the discipline they showed to their game. It was a media that kept the commentary on what was happening between the lines…not outside of the lines.

These athletes weren’t perfect…far from it, but they were role models (by default you might say) for kids that didn’t have any role models.

Let me lay something else on you…Do you know, in our neighborhood (and we were far from unique), who else was held in ultra esteem?

It was the local coach and the local star. We knew who the star players were at the other high school…Who the coaches were before we met them.

If you get a chance and are on the sidelines this coming fall listen to the kids who are the ball boys. The little dudes that are running around and getting yelled at by everybody…Listen to them talk, and yeah sometimes they’ll be talking about Kobe or LeBron…but this past year I heard them talking about El Monte’s Brandon Martinez…The year before that I heard them talking about Arroyo’s Steven Rivera.

We all might not carry the burden of a parent to the kids of the community, but in the limited station we’ve arrived at; Player, coach, teacher, youth pastor, or even sports writer…we owe them our very best.

Wanting the best for children will cause them to want something more in this life.

Talk to Joe at


Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.


News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.