On Hero Worship


Well, it’s happened again. Another athlete, that the Almighty seems to have blessed with super-human abilities, has fallen back to earth and crashed like Icarus. He had enjoyed the ultra-thin air of success at a relatively young age but made the mistake of violating one of Gandhi’s ‘7 Deadly Sin’s’: pleasure without conscience- and now stands naked in front of his adoring fans, apparently none the worse for wear. What is this fascination that we share for making heroes and gods out of these people who can run with a football, jump with a basketball or just hit a ball with a stick? How, in our collective psyche, can we rationalize paying a policeman $50,000 a year to protect us and our communities and give a basketball player $10 million for the same year? How is it that we pay a teacher about $35,000 a year to educate our children and give a baseball player $250 million for 10 years?? Entertainment for the masses? Imagine putting an additional $250 million into our schools or brain research or feeding the hungry and that’s just ONE SALARY. What is this fascination we have for ‘hero worship’?

The people that raised you should be the first that come to mind when you speak of heroes; the father who worked tirelessly to put a roof over your head and put food on the table, not because he was paid to but because he wanted to; or the mother who sat up with you all night when you were sick or needed help with some homework or how about the time your young heart was broken? How do you measure love like that?

Maybe it wasn’t your parents, maybe it was a brother or a sister who was always there for you? If you weren’t lucky enough to have that kind of family structure, then maybe it was your grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, a teacher or a neighbor; someone, somewhere at some point in your life took the time to teach you the difference between right and wrong , they taught you how to be a lady or a gentleman, they taught you how to look defeat in the eye and keep getting back up and get back in the game. THOSE are your heroes, the people who saw something special in you, not some clown who jumped higher or ran faster than you.

More than likely, your heroes probably led very quiet lives, some might even say boring- that’s usually the way it is. But, they had the ability to see something special in all of you and they helped you nurture it as best as they could before they sent you on your way. Each of my grandparents lacked a formal education but they each had a wisdom that you could not learn from books, only from life and its hard knocks. My grandma tried to teach us to always do the right thing. One day, as a teen, I asked her what to do if I didn’t know what was right: ‘Then, act like a gentleman, Mikey. If you act like a gentleman, you’ll always do the right thing.’ I can still hear her saying that today. And, just between us, if some of these high-priced athletes had been schooled by my grandparents, a lot of these boys wouldn’t be in the straits they’re in right now.

At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko ©2010   www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 2:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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