I was about 13 when I wrote a letter to my favorite sportscaster in Houston. I told her how much I loved the work she did and how I thought it would be so cool to talk to players. Much to my surprise, she responded. She was gracious and encouraging of my interest in sports broadcasting but it’s these words that made the greatest impression, “Athlete are people too.”
It was a little puzzling to hear that as a teenager, but it’s a phrase, a statement and a truth that has driven every interaction I’ve had with athletes for 20 years. It’s easy to see athletes as superheroes or super-human based on their talents and abilities, but at the end of the day they’re people.
I’ve heard from plenty of sports fans who want athletes to “stick to sports.” That would be like me telling you to “stick to your job, because what do you know about sports?”
You don’t have to agree with what athletes say. You probably don’t agree with everything your boss or your friends say – but at the end of the day they are people just like you and me.
So, let’s treat people with respect and speak words of kindness. It can start with a willingness to make small talk and it can start with these #ConvoStarters.