I had the great pleasure of interviewing the great Bobby Orr on my radio show this week. He has a new book out, "Bobby: My Story in Pictures," which would make a fantastic gift for your father or older brother. As we chatted, I asked Mr. Orr who he thought was great, and he immediately mentioned Gordie.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing the great Bobby Orr on my radio show this week. He has a new book out, "Bobby: My Story in Pictures," which would make a fantastic gift for your father or older brother. As we chatted, I asked Mr. Orr who he thought was great, and he immediately mentioned Gordie. I know of Gordie Howe, of course, but not thinking that Gordie belonged in Orr's or Gretzky's class, I followed up with, "But was Gordie truly great, or was it longevity that helped him achieve that status?" Mr. Orr got very serious, and then he proceeded to tell me something I won't soon forget.

He said, "Do you remember that ad campaign, 'I am not a role model?' Well, I hate that idea so much. Like it or not, we are role models. Of course we are. And two of my favorite people that proved that were Gordie [Howe] and Arnie [Palmer]. They've both passed, and I was at both of their funerals. What still amazes me about those events was that almost all of the stories and memories people shared about those two had nothing to do with hockey or golf. These were two of the greatest to ever play their sports, but the people that knew them best all told great stories about them outside of the men we knew. That's why I admire those two so much. Sports was a part of who they were, but they were so great in addition to their athletic achievements. That's why I think of them whenever I think of 'great' or 'role model.'"

There's that Twitter meme that pops up periodically whenever there's a picture of someone looking glowingly at someone else, and the picture is captioned with, "find someone who looks at you the way A looks at B." To anyone who ever has the opportunity to be a role model, may I simply say, "Be the kind of role model that makes someone as great as Bobby Orr talk with glowing admiration about you." And if, instead, you decide to cop out and fall back on the "I am not a role model" thing, well, then know that you will be greatly disappointing Bobby Orr, and why would you ever want to do that? 

Doug Goudie is a Boxford resident, author and a radio talk show personality.