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Mark Sanchez "The Man, The Legend"

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“Vince Lombardi once said, “Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.” Mark Sanchez exemplifies the message of the quote; he is a third generation Mexican-American who has worked hard since childhood to achieve success. Sanchez’s hard work has gotten him to where he is today, New York Jets starting quarterback and role model to anyone with a dream and the drive and courage to pursuit it. Sanchez is working hard to lead his team to victory and has enjoyed moderate success working towards his ultimate goal to win the Super Bowl. The lessons that he has learned and the obstacles that he has overcome over the course of his childhood, and his professional career have made Mark Sanchez the successful role model he is today.

To begin with, Mark Sanchez was raised by his father, Nick Sanchez, in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Sanchez’s parents divorced when he was four, and his father eventually remarried. Sanchez’s dad pushed him to succeed and gave academics as much priority as athletics by making Sanchez combine sports and scholastic drills such as taking batting practice while being quizzed on the periodic table. Sanchez’s father explained this by saying, “There was no foresight to athletics, I wanted them to deal with difficult situations. My hope is that they would be stronger” (Witz). This proved successful as Sanchez and his two brothers, Nick Jr. and Brandon all played college football and earned degrees. Sanchez played quarterback at USC and received a degree in communications, while Nick Jr. played quarterback for Yale where he became a lawyer and Brandon played offensive line for DePauw where he became a mortgage broker. Further, Nick said about the lessons he taught his sons, "The lessons set them apart, they gave them the ability to separate from folks" (Arangure Jr.). Nick Sanchez’s upbringing gave all his sons the tools to succeed in their lives but Mark Sanchez clearly surpassed any of his father’s expectations by not only graduating from the very prestigious USC but making it to the NFL as a starting quarterback on a marquee franchise.

To continue, it was well known by the time Mark Sanchez entered his senior year in high school that he was poised to do great things on the gridiron; he was considered the top high school quarterback in the nation coming out of high school. Sanchez was special and his college success cemented his status as a can’t miss prospect for the NFL, his coach at USC, Pete Carol said about Sanchez, "I'm thrilled for Mark. For any of our kids to live the dream and do what they want to do with their football career, this is a great place to do this" (Southern California quarterback Sanchez taking game to NFL). Mark Sanchez impressed the New York Jets enough for them to trade up to the fifth pick in the 2009 draft to select him as the face of their franchise. The team was rewarded for their gamble as Sanchez earned three Pepsi Rookie of the Week awards the following season. Moreover his coach, Rex Ryan, added, "He's a great young man who has been working hard since he got in here and I'm excited that we have him in the fold" (Jets reach agreement with QB Sanchez). Nothing exemplified this more than Sanchez coming within one win of taking the Jets to the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons. Sanchez does face his fair share of adversity in the form of critics and distracting factors. Pundits criticize Sanchez’s maturity and whether or not he is ready to be the leader of a veteran team as talented as the Jets. He also carries the burden of trying to turn around e a culture of losing football for the Jets for the better part of their history, and playing for a team that always seems to find itself in the tabloids for off the field issues. The manner in which Sanchez handles all the pressure, criticism and the other forms of adversity in his life makes him a role model.

Further, Mark Sanchez is a role model to people everywhere because of how he carries himself while representing his Mexican-American heritage. For a brief period during his USC career he wore a mouthpiece with a Mexican Flag design before the controversy spiraled out of control wit h people questioning his pride as an American and he had to stop wearing it. Mark put the issue into perspective with these wise words, “It was supposed to be fun, to say thank you to the Hispanic following, I never intended it to be a radical statement, or about political power or anything like that” (Witz). The maturity for a twenty year old to respond to the immature criticism of men two or even three times his age is refreshing in an age of supposed role models with names like “Ochocinco”. In addition, he also handled unfounded sexual assault charges with class when he was still at USC. He thanked his family, friends and fans for supporting him during the difficult time by saying, "I also would like to thank my family, my fellow players, our coaching staff, the USC family and all of the people that stood by me during this very difficult time” (USC Quarterback Won't Face Sexual Assault Charges). Although it would have been best if Sanchez didn’t put himself in that situation it came to show that everyone makes mistakes and when they do so you need to handle things with care and be grateful for those who support them. His on field performances like his five fourth quarter comebacks also inspire his fans by showing how one man can turn a whole team around and lead them to victory. Not to mention the countless charities that Sanchez partakes in to give kids the same chances he had by giving away school supplies and serving as the official Ambassador to the Inner-City Games Los Angeles.

To conclude, Mark Sanchez has become the inspirational person he is today by overcoming adversity and accomplishing many spectacular feats on the football field as well as off. The values taught to Mark by his father built the foundation that led to the flourishing of his athletic as well as academic career and his acknowledgement of his Mexican-American identity has instilled in him the need to help others through his charity work.





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