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Remembering Class, Christian Lopez Gives Back

Written by Chapin George
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It can be sugar coated anyway you want, but the truth behind the recent professional sports lockouts remains - it's all about the money. Lockouts are one thing, then there is scandal. We've become accustomed to seeing professional athletes make the wrong choices, or perhaps decisions that are, at the very least, questionable. Many of those choices have involved the use of banned substances; others have revolved around a more public kind of criminal action. Then, of course, there have been certain athletes, names need not be mentioned, that have made immoral and unethical familial decisions.

Now, not all of these wrong doings in sports are driven by monetary gain, though a majority of them are, but what they all do have in common is the presence of greed - this desire to want more of something - be that money, home runs, touchdowns, wins, or even women. What this presence of greed has done to sports is come very close to eliminating aspects of 'class' within our sports organizations. Thank God, however, that Christian Lopez, a young New York Yankee baseball fan brought 'class' back to sports with his decision to give Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit baseball back to Jeter after snatching the dramatic homer. The hit, as well as the individual game Jeter had, was immediately legendary. Therefore, it is no surprise that the baseball Lopez caught was valued at prices over $200,000.00.

Lopez, a man in his early twenties, still has college loans to pay. He and his girlfriend have aspirations of starting a family together. $200,000.00 seems as though it would have helped his future immensely - it would help anyone's future at that. However, none of this crossed his mind once he had this piece of history within his grasp. He simply wanted to do the right thing - the respectable thing. It was a decision that Lopez said was not a hard one to make. Derek Jeter, a multi million dollar athlete, had made history with this 3,000th hit.  At that point, money didn't seem to matter to him or to the individual that caught the ball.  It was an accomplishment; It was Jeter's accomplishment. Christian Lopez was not about to keep something for which he hadn't worked. This may seem like it was the only decision to make, but we all know that dollar signs have blinded the common fan before, must we relive the monetary journey that former Barry Bonds-hit baseballs have taken.

What I mean to say is that there is still an opportunity to rebuild the role model type reputation that certain professional sports athletes have begun to taint. Milestones have been reached and records have been broken, but it seems as though sports fans have to expect foul play was involved within these areas of success - this just based on historical fact, i.e. Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, A-Rod, and Roger Clemens in baseball, the common criminal infraction of our professional football players, as well as the doping of professional cyclists. But a guy, a fan, like Christian Lopez retains a hope for professional sports as well as a respect for 'the game'.  It couldn't be any more fitting either - that the professional athlete involved was the Yankee skipper, Derek Jeter, one of the most popular short stops of the past decade, the word 'popular' not pertaining to negative media, of which he has steered clear.

Many of our extremely wealthy professional athletes have much to learn about respect.  They have much to learn about maintaining a classy character as it pertains to their certain organizations as well as their own personal careers.  Please know that I do recognize those professional few that have acted unselfishly throughout their careers, but there are just as many who have not.  These are the athletes that could stand to learn from the actions of a common fan not worth millions of dollars, but a common fan that wants to see the tradition of sports continued more than he wants to see his own bank account skyrocket.  How refreshing.  How classy.


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