When I was a youth, I had many heroes. Jim Thorpe, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, any Olympic gold medalist, Ace pilots, Audie Murphy, cowboys (especially John Wayne and Roy Rogers), and, of course, my Dad. They were real people who did real things—things that maybe someday I could do, or maybe wanted to do. My heroes were not cartoon characters or something born out of animation or fantasy. They did things that I realistically wanted to aspire to. What they did held great value to society and exhibited behavior born out of well-established traditional values. My heroes did things I wished I could do . . . in real life.
Where have all the heroes gone? My heroes have stayed with me in memory and present day as perpetual examples of what is good, what is exciting, and what is a testament to striving for something difficult to attain. My heroes are a constant reminder that hard work and dedication pay off. They also are not figures born in transient entertainment that lasts only minutes and have little or nothing to do with how I lead my life. They stay with me and are examples of how to live. Do we have heroes today that we look up to? Really?
Are the Alex Rodriguezes’ and Mike Trouts of today going to be heroes—like the ones I remember? I hope so, that is, as far as the way they work, the manner in which they dedicate themselves and desire to excel, and the manner in which they carry themselves in society. If drugs or money are what propel any major league (or NFL, NHL, NBA, or other) player, than the values that truly create a hero are lost and the adulation or attention that these players obtain is falsely represented, tenuous at best, and misguided. There are many professional athletes who dedicate themselves to their sport and the improvement of their game, as well as endeavor to maintain solid values while trying to make a good living in the process. It is a shame that business and money have altered the perception of true heroes, however, to the point that materialism and a deteriorated value system have created ways to make a buck, not ways to mentor youth or keep heroes. As sports are gallantly trying to right the lost ship, it is difficult to find a true hero in sports.
Drugs and money have negated the idealism of heroes in sports. Sports have been tainted and spoiled. In fact it is not important for many youth, and adults, to have heroes in general anymore. How can one get the most out of something with the least amount of effort? Sounds like society in general, doesn’t it. What a shame this is, that is, if you want to hang onto to values. Now of course being a throwaway society and a society that has become incredibly lazy, finding value in having a hero becomes a non-issue. What a shame.
I hope this baseball season offers new prospects for stronger values and heroism.
Double play! Yaay! Best wishes, dl/SAI