After having watched a teary-eyed Arnold “Arnie” Palmer on television, I felt that I needed to comment on him as my all-time sports personality — not a hero, as that is reserved for those people who give of themselves for the betterment of others (or, maybe he is).

As an aspiring athlete growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, I was looking for someone who embraced the charisma, sportsmanship, love of past and present family, the expertise of his livelihood, the passion he had to compete and his never-ending desire to be the best at what he did. Coming from a humble background, he always gave adulation to his strict father and his loving, sometimes spoiling, mom — very similar to the atmosphere I grew up in.

If all athletes and non-athletes could be like Palmer, the world would be a better place.

Professional athletes are role models for young people, but all societies reach a pinnacle and then slide downhill. With all the news about performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol abuse and domestic violence on the front pages of sports sections, perhaps the U.S. is on a downward trend.

Young athletes should look at Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Dustin Pedroia or, yes, Arnold Palmer as role models. Young people of today have a tremendous responsibility of changing the political denigration of U.S. society (I despise both major parties).

The world needs the help of the youngsters. They can be Arnold Palmers.

George Ferguson, Sabattus

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