Come ride with me

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not giving up on heroes

I was on a century ride yesterday and I overhead a few of my bike club teammates remark about how they no longer were 'investing' in heroes (related to Lance Armstrong and all the rest....). I wrote recently about how I'm feeling more cynical, more reluctant to be a 'fan' than ever before...but I'm not ready to give up having heroes.
But I think my appreciation of heroes and heroic actions is different now--if not better. It's more personal--vs. media-generated. Many of my heroes are actually people you've never heard of. For example:
My mother and father are long gone, but I continue to be inspired by their courage/work ethic.
My father was an illegal alien from Germany who boarded the Queen Elizabeth secretly and hid in cargo when it crossed from England to New York, after WWII. My mother was a green-card immigrant from England who came to California after the war to 'start a new life'. I'll tell you about how they met in another post--it didn't go so well at first.
Sometimes I have anxiety to travel by myself...what my mother and father did, in leaving their birth homes with practically nothing, is incredible. And my father didn't speak very much english either.
My wife, Karen, is a hero: heading off to teach a 5th grade class every day. Today the argument is that our teachers are failing our children....more like parents are failing their responsibilities.
My best friend, Irv, reinvented himself over 20 years ago, giving up a lucrative career as an executive in the food business to be a track coach, at considerably less money...but coaching was his passion, and he had the guts to follow his heart.
My former work colleague, Bonnie, lost her teenage daughter in a car accident...but instead of pulling in/giving up, she reinvented herself and went back to school and became a surgical tech. Bonnie is a hero.
So are the Marines in Afganistan and
U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers...
I'm not giving up on heroes.
Come ride with me.

1 comment:

  1. I think Matt brought up a good point about this a while back; on a societal level, we're going backwards when we "heroize" professional athletes. Then again, maybe it's more about the kind of inspiration we draw from certain "heroic" efforts / achievements than what it took to perform that "act of heroism"...

    “My sense is that [people battling cancer] think less, ‘Did Lance cheat?’ than about trying to stay alive, and if Lance beat cancer then won the Tour de France, then I'm going to believe in that. We humans get pretty good pretty fast at compartmentalizing when it comes to life and death; therefore, drawing hope from someone who cheated in a bicycle race isn't unreasonable.”
    -Bill Strickland, Executive Editor of Bicycling Magazine