Today's professional athletes are out of control. They demand ridiculous contracts and refuse to play if they don't get them. Many cause trouble on the playing fields and sometimes off. But one athlete goes beyond this chaos and does what he does best - play baseball.Nomar Garciaparra has always been an outstanding athlete. Along with baseball, he has played football and soccer, too. At Georgia Tech, he dreamed of playing baseball professionally. In the 1994 draft, Nomar Garciaparra was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the first round.Garciaparra has achieved many incredible things already in his brief Major League career. He has hit above .300 both seasons and was the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year. But it's not his statistics that make him a good player, it's his personality that has made Nomar a fan favorite at Fenway.In 1998, when the controversy over his teammate Mo Vaughn's contract negotiation was the big topic, Nomar Garciaparra ignored it and just played baseball. The fans respected him for keeping his mouth shut while Mo attacked the team. Nomar supports his fellow teammates, but quietly and with dignity, as a player should.When it came time for Nomar to negotiate his own contract, many in Boston were afraid the Red Sox wouldn't be able to afford him. Nomar, however, took the first offer the Red Sox made and signed far under his "market value." Nomar is loyal to the team that drafted him and is now signed through the year 2002.Possibly, the best attribute of Nomar's personality is his love for the fans. When the Rod Sox final home game was over, Nomar Garciaparra was the only player who came onto the field to thank the fans for their support. Nomar didn't have to do this, but his appreciation for the people who support and cheer him was too great for him to hold back his feelings.Nomar is a true athlete and a perfect example of what all athletes should be. Profes-sional athletes are generally more concerned with money than playing their sport. Nomar works hard, plays hard, respects his fans and respects his team. He isn't boastful on the field and shows excellent self-discipline. He isn't worried about money or anything except his passion: baseball. If anyone is looking for a true athlete to look up to, Nomar is an excellent choice. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.