How we choose our heroes…

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Haiti Blog | Comments Off on How we choose our heroes…

I have my favorite sports teams–SF Giants, LA Lakers, SF 49ers.  It’s a bad day for me when they lose.

I have some sports’ heroes” as well–Warren Spahn (I know, I’m old), Buster Posey, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant…I could hear some of you gasping for breath as the list grew longer.

Last weekend Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant–two of my sports’ “heroes”–suffered devastating losses.  Tiger dropped his ball illegally following an errant a shot into the water at the Masters, and Kobe Bryant tore his achilles tendon en route to seeking to lead his team ti the playoffs.  Same day.

Tiger and Kobe are incredible competitors and highly-skilled athletes; in fact, they stand head and shoulders above their peers.  I love to watch them compete.  Beyond the athletic arena, however, they are a disappointment, both of them guilty of well-publicized acts of sexual indiscretion, a sanitized way of identifying their behavior towards women.

Still, I like to watch them. I keep hoping their character will match up with their athletic prowess.  Tiger missed an opportunity to withdraw from the Masters as an honorable man–he was allowed to continue over a technicality—and Kobe tweeted a reaction the early morning after his injury for the world to read that was derogatory and disturbing.  It would have been comforting to hear a monologue about what really matters in life.  Wistful thinking.

So much for my “heroes”.

Real heroes have character that outshines their resume of accomplishment and repertoire of skills.  Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey are two modern-day heroes.  The movie, 42, details three years of their lives during the mid-forties when Rickey determined to integrate professional baseball by signing the young black Robinson to a contract with the then Brooklyn Dodger organization.  The story of their painful journey and forged character in the heat of prejudicial public abuse is ennobling.

I will take men like Rickey and Robinson.  They are heroes for the right reasons.

Choose your “heroes” well.