A good citizen cares for his family, his neighbors and complete strangers. He knows his own destiny, to channel Dr. King, is bound to the destiny of those around him. A good citizen believes in the basic ideals of American society – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He then works with others to shape policy and develop programs to help those ideals become a reality for all Americans.
When I think about citizenship, I think about sportsmanship. The game, whether on the field of play or in real-life, is more productive and more enjoyable when everyone has the opportunity to play, grow and succeed. A good sport, along with a good citizen, knows the main objective has nothing to do with the day’s score, but the willingness of people to continue playing no matter the outcome of a single contest.
Sports leagues have folded after crowning a single season’s champion. Nations have fallen after the reign of a single, destructive ruler. Good citizens and good sports know that to make society and the game better, they must endure. They also know you are as only good as your bench.
In sports, the star player gets the headlines, but Steve Kerr hit the shot, David Tyree made the catch and Mike Jones made the tackle. In life, presidents and senators make news, but teachers, doctors, attorneys, laborers, and other everyday Americans teach, nurture and encourage the Barack Obamas, John McCains, and Elizabeth Warrens of the world.
A good sport knows there is no “I” in team.
A good citizen knows we are strongest when we are bound so close together, that one of us cannot fall without the rest.