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Thursday, February 3, 2011

When professional athletes set a real example

Maybe one per cent of one per cent of young athletes who start out playing a given sport make it to the professional ranks. And of those who do “make it”, not everyone becomes a positive role model that young people can look up to.

One individual, though, who youngsters can certainly look up to is Israel Idonije of the Chicago bears.

Idonije is an outstanding defensive end with the Chicago Bears, who this season made it all the way to the NFC championship game before bowing out to the Green Bay Packers. Idonije is a native of Nigeria, raised in Manitoba—an unlikely route to become an All-Star caliber NFL player.

But Idonije has worked very hard to earn what he has achieved in sport and has had a tremendous career, and along the way has contributed significantly to needy youngsters in his native country, helping to supply food, medicine and clothing.

Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun wrote a fine piece recently on Idonije. It can be viewed at


It’s a story worth reading.  It depicts the values of a young man who appreciates what “stardom” has provided and does more than just talk about making a difference.  He shows how much he appreciates his own good fortune through actions that make a huge difference in the lives of countless youngsters.