I remember when I was a kid in 1993 and Charles Barkley did the Nike commercial where he stated, “I am not a role model.” The point behind that commercial is that kids should emulate their parents instead of athletes or celebrities.

I couldn’t agree more. But parents still need resources and examples to point to and share with their kids.

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Enter Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes II, who recently won the AFC Championship Game and earned a trip to the Super Bowl.

Mahomes is a league MVP who has ascended to the top in very quick fashion. It’s surprising because Mahomes wasn’t highly touted coming out of college. He wasn’t the first quarterback selected in the 2017 draft. So how did he become the best player in the league?

Read this letter posted from Mahomes in The Players’ Tribune back on the eve of the draft in April 2017.

He knew. He tried to tell us. The best evaluators in the NFL didn’t believe it then.

This is the message parents should share with their young athletes.

You don’t have to be the biggest, fastest, strongest player out there. You can’t control your height. You can’t control your athleticism compared to your competitors.

But you can control your effort. You can control your attitude. You can control your work ethic.

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Mahomes is a tremendous talent with a strong arm, but more than that, he has an outstanding attitude and understands what it takes to make big plays in big moments.

My favorite line in the letter is:

“I will not whine or complain during the process. I won’t be a distraction, on or off the field.”

Kids need to hear messages like this. They need to see what kind of results can come from hard work and a great attitude.

Kids need to know that it doesn’t matter if people say you’re not good enough. If you want it badly enough and you’re willing to work for it . . . you can make it happen.

Here’s to those who prove people wrong in all the right ways.

Kyle Means

Kyle Means is the Director of Marketing for the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He enjoyed a fulfilling career in Sports & Entertainment prior to his work in higher education. Past stops include HuskerVision, Houston Rockets/Toyota Center, and the Tri-City Storm/Viaero Event Center. Kyle left the sports biz in 2014 to pursue a career more focused on marketing where he can use a combination of strategic and creative skills. Plus, he now has a few more nights and weekends to spend with his awesome family including his wife (HerViewFromHome founder) Leslie Means, their two daughters Ella and Grace and son, Keithan. Kyle still enjoys watching and playing a variety of sports. The competitive, yet unifying, nature of sports is a strangely beautiful concept that he loves. When he’s not enhancing the brand at UNK, spending time with family or watching/playing sports, Kyle can usually be found volunteering at First Lutheran Church where likes to display a strong faith and give back to the community.