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Monday, August 21, 2006

What exactly are heroes?

An odd link to the title, but read the post before you click it.

My kids have been spending something like half of their teenage lives on myspace.com. I am a responsible parent at times so I occasionally peek over their shoulders and watch what they are doing. I have heard all the uproar about myspace and how it is the home of everything sexual. This may be true, but I always season these things with a grain of salt. I joined the internet club in 1994, only a couple of years after it began. There was little to do, and AOL was the premier online service. So my first online experience began with AOL. Myspace has nothing on that, if it is what you are looking for.

So, a couple of weeks ago my wife created herself a myspace page. She was excited because within minutes she was chatting with an old friend from high school that she had not seen or even though of in years. Then, a couple days later, she decided to make one for me. In doing so, she asked me who I considered a personal hero. I didn't know how to answer that question, so I gave her some names of people that I admired.

So I have been thinking - What exactly is a hero? Some are obvious, like police officers and firefighters who rush to the sound of gunfire or a burning inferno when everyone else (as the human survival instinct mandates) is running away. I know Marines that I consider heroes-people who commit incredible acts of bravery to assault the enemy, or save the life of a comrade. Hero status is obvious for some, and instinctive.

But what about others who did not risk a life, or give one up? What about the normal, quiet, unassuming people that can be considered heroes? Who are yours? Post and let me know as I am seriously pondering this subject.

My dad is the first person I think of as a hero, for dozens of reasons. Ronald Reagan is also one of mine. He transformed so much of America into what it is today. I know of the changes that he implemented that saved my family from financial ruin, but I will post the anecdotal stuff another time.

So the link is to Tiger Woods. I know, he plays golf and so do I. The fact that we both use golf balls is the only similarity in our game. Tiger is an example of someone who set a goal and worked doggedly to accomplish it. Despite being at the pinnacle of his career, he still rises every morning and has a work ethic that is amazing even on the golf course. He has set many records, thus the link to the title. His determination to succeed and refusal to give quarter in reaching his goals is what I admire about him.

Also, I recently saw a special on tv about him. Some of the numbers I use here are a little off, but the concept is sound. Tiger receives about $8 million a year in salary, and about $40 million a year in endorsements. He and his wife live off his salary, and DONATE the other $40 million a year to his charity. I know, $8 million is nothing to sneeze at, but he gives away 5/6 of his income.

He is deserving of Hero status, or at least he does with me. Tell me about your heroes!

5 Posts From Readers:

Nicho said...

TIGER WOODS??! Oh, come ON! I was expecting more conservative vitriol than that. ;)

I've found that heroes can be both decidedly cliché and irrevocably personal with very little overlap of the two. Like you, my father was a hero for reasons that even I don't understand completely. Not to get too personal, but he was an alcoholic and a social lone wolf who'd rather watch TV at family gatherings than chit-chat with the rest of us. But when in he passed in October of 2001, I think all of us were shocked by how devastated we all felt by his loss.

And then there's the cliché - Thomas Jefferson. If I could have a scant ten minutes with the man...

But I think my real heroes are my kids. They're amazing little vessels of original thought and creativity.

Robert said...

Sorry to disappoint, Nicho...lol. When asked who I would like to have dinner with, or who I would most like to meet, Thomas Jefferson is always my answer. I can't imagine having as high degree of awe about a person as I do him.

I was trying, sort of, to leave the cliched political heroes out. I am not even sure of I would list TJ as a hero even. So, I stuck with Tiger. His work ethic and reported humility are awesome. I golf, and I guarantee you that after my first 5 majors, and first Nike endorsement, I wouldn't still be getting up at 0400 and hitting stupid golf balls.

I would probably be drinking breakfast about noon.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Good post, and very thought provoking. My "first instinct say what comes to mind" hero's would have to be anyone who stands their ground for their beliefs, even when the tide is rushing against them, but at the same time, possesses the flexibility to change when they see change will be for the betterment of all. And like you, a sports figure ranks up there too. Al Kaline, right fielder for the Detroit Tigers, decades ago. He not only played the game well and became a superstar, but always remembered he was a role model, and conducted himself accordingly. He later moved into the broadcast booth for the Tigers, and I remember him berating the tremendously high (then) salary's demanded by average players. I'll never forgot one of his quotes, made on the air: "If you think you're so great you deserve millionaire status, then perhaps you should go back to little league until you learn the concept of team play." That of course, was pre-multi-million dollar contracts for journeyman players.

The Beltway B@stard said...

My father - because he got up and went to work every day, never complained, supported his family and has never asked for or wanted anything in return.

My Grandfathers (RIP - 1975/1996), for the same reasons. Both kind gentelmen who loved nothing more than to just sit with their granchildren and treat us like royalty.

If I had to pick a sports hero, then I have to stick with my beloved Redskins and Darrell Green. He never considered a trade, took cuts in salary with no hesitation or complaint when the team needed him to, founded an outstanding youth foundation, was and still always a pefect role model for kids, and has remained in the metro community doing much good after retiring.

Robert said...

Future, I usually welcome new commenters here, but I think I missed the chance when you first posted. Welcome, and please come back often. I can take all the arrows you float my way....

I think yours is a good answer. Those who remain steadfast despite pressure or opinion, because they have a belief is excellent. And the quote from Al Kaline is excellent. One day I will post my little diatribe about prima donna sports figures.

I admire someone else that you never heard of. His name is Chris (last name nameless). He is a law enforcement officer now, but he started of in sports. He played semi-pro football after college. He is about 6'4", 220, and fast as lightning. He tried out for about a dozen NFL teams, but they all told him the same thing - "put on 25 pounds and keep it on through summer camp and we will sign you." He is about 2% body fat, and couldn't ever keep the weight on. I wish my metabolism was so fast....lol.

So, he always wanted to be a cop if he couldn't play ball. He became a cop, but didn't stop there. He is using all of his friends from the NFL to start and after school program for poor kids. He teaches football, knowing that some of them won't go to college without sports. BUT - as part of his program, he uses teachers and volunteers to tutor the kids before they practice. A C average or better is required to play, so if you don't make the grades, you sit and watch until your schoolwork improves. I see two role models in the same person. One who gives back and has athletic abilities that he gives away, and two, one who insists that kids live up to their potential, even when their parents won't.

You will probably never hear about him, but he is a hero nonetheless. They all aren't pretty boy, spoiled rotten kids.

BB - My dad also is my biggest hero. He retired from the Marines, raised a family, was my baseball coach and scout leader and I wish he wasn't 75 and facing the end of an incredible life. I learned my lessons of perseverance and dedication from him. I also learned about hard work and sacrifice. He taught me everything I needed to know, and when I went in the Marines, I already knew all the lessons.

For all - If you are reading, please don't leave without a post. I would like to hear about more heroes, and who is considered one in your life.

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