BY GINA G. SCALA
There are few topics I hold my tongue on; in fact, most who know me would say if I think it, I say it. It’s not quite that extreme; but not too far off, either.
And I make no secret of being a huge fan of Gov. Chris Christie, even before his stellar leadership before, during and after Superstorm Sandy. What I haven’t “weighed” in on, though, is the issue of his weight; mostly because I don’t see it as an issue.
When I think of Christie I think larger-than-life personality; good ol' Jersey Boy attitude and sense of humor; not 'wow how much does that guy weigh, anyhow?'. So imagine my consternation every time someone decides Christie isn’t a good fit (no pun intended) as a role model because of his weight; especially when that person is also a fan.
“I’m a big supporter of Christie, voted for him for governor and would vote for him for president, but he’s not the best role model, physically for kids in New Jersey and America,” said Tom Sparber, director and founder of Camp Pocono Trails; the focus of MTV’s “Fat Camp” and “Return to Fat Camp." “It would be helpful to him and everybody if he would take action for himself,” said Sparber.
In an April 4 letter to the governor inviting him to spend at day at the camp, Sparber said he and his staff would show Christie how to “make better choices for meals and snacks and learn that exercise can be truly fun.”
Hmm…I wonder what kind of clairvoyance Mr. Sparber has to know that Christie doesn’t already know how to do those things. Hello, news flash, Mr. Sparber, just because the governor is getting megabucks to endorse trendy weight loss programs on national television doesn’t mean he isn’t taking action for himself.
Here’s what I find most offensive, and it isn’t the invitation to fat camp, but the idea that someone who is heavier can’t be a good role model; physically or otherwise. I am just wondering what that says to America’s youth?
Most likely, Sparber didn’t intend to come across like an utterly thoughtless individual. I, however, am having a hard time seeing him as more different than the Marie Claire blogger who took aim at CBS’ Mike & Molly, a show about two overweight people who meet at an Overeaters’ Anonymous meeting, when it first aired in 2010.
Perhaps, society should stop looking outside the family for role models and start asking why it’s okay for children to play video or computer games for hours on end; why fast food restaurants supersize everything; why healthier food options remain just out-of-reach, financially, for some families and why some gym memberships can still break the bank?