Who’s Your Hero?

Scouts, what exactly does it take to be one of your heroes? Have you ever thought about why you admire someone to the point that you think of them as a hero?

Well, I like sports. I like sports alot. I’ve been a Dallas Cowboy fan forever. It seems like forever. I have an autographed photo and letter in my office at work from Dallas legendary QB Roger Staubach. I loved to watch him play the game. Actually, I have another framed photo on my office wall of the famous “Hail Mary Pass”, Staubach to Drew Pearson. And another autographed photo of Staubach and his legendary coach, Tom Landry. But the question is, “Is Roger Staubach one of my heroes?”

Sometime during each day, I go to the internet and check out the sports stories. I did that today and here are the sports stories listed:

Ex Navy QB says, “I still want to be a Naval Officer” after being suspended from the team.
Miami player returns fire after being shot by teammate.
Senior cornerback leaving Auburn after DUI charge.
Irish coach denies recruiting violations.
Former Wisconsin running back accused of sexual assault.
Duke QB suspended for plagiarism.
Attorney for Barry Bonds wants leak investigated.
Five major leaguers suspended for 50 games.
Jockey faces probe after head butting a horse.
Are you seeing a trend here? These are the “sports” stories. Legal problems abound. College level. This is the garden where our heros are grown. Professional level too. So, if you are as avid a sports fan as I am, you have to ask, “Where are the heroes?” It almost appears that when we buy their cards, we wear their jerseys, hang their autographed photos on our walls, scream their names and clap when they make good plays, go straight to the sports page of the paper to see who won the Masters or the Super Bowl or March Madness or the Preakness or the Bowling Hall of Fame…and pass right by the front page filled with stories that affect humanity…..well, there is something wrong with that.

We see our dads go to work each day, struggling to put a roof over our heads and food on the table and then we go off to school wering the jersey of a guy who makes millions for bouncing a ball. We read about guys who say they can’t live on 50 million dollars a year and we save his cards and watch him play and we almost believe that he should get the salary increase because he caught that important pass in last years Super Bowl…..and we forget about dad who is putting hard earned nickel away for our college fund.

OK. You know I’m getting ready to ask you to really give some thought to who you consider your heroes. But not yet. First, let me give you one more example of a “sports story” from today’s news.

Gamecocks Defensive End sues University for $300,000.000 because they interfered with his chances for the NFL. I clicked on that story, thinking that there might be a Scoutmaster’s Minute in there somewhere and here is what I read. The player was convicted on two counts of 1st Degree burglary and two counts of petty larceny after going into rooms in the University dorm, stealing televisions and VCR’s out of female student’s rooms. He’s suing the University because they apparently kicked him off the football team, thereby “interfering” with his chances to make millions in the NFL.

He lost his chance to make millions, get tennis shoe ads, get jerseys with his name on the back worn by adoring kids all over the country, because the University “interfered” with his chance. He said, “It kept me from playing football which I love. This is pain and suffering.” He actually said that. And he’s suing the school for $300,000.00. The school that was offering to give him an education. This guy had talent. This guy had a chance to be a “hero” to millions of kids. But he lost that chance because of the University? Really? Is the University to blame? No it isn’t. He didn’t lose his chance because of the University. He lost his chance because he stole stuff. He was held accountable for his actions. The school didn’t steal those T.V.’s, The school didn’t make him sneak into somebody else’s dorm room and take stuff. He made that decision. He is now suffering the consequences of his actions. Heroes don’t steal stuff. Heroes don’t blame others for their own mistakes. Heroes learn from their mistakes. This guy isn’t doing that.

Scouts, life is like baseball. Sooner or later you are going to have to get in the batters box and start swinging at the pitches. You hit the ball. Or you miss. Maybe there is something about the way you swing. Maybe your stance needs some work. Your coach makes some suggestions. Your dad, up in the stands, can make some suggestions. Your teammates might offer suggestions. You get up to bat again and you go to the batters box. And guess what? Your coach doesn’t get in the box with you. Neither does your dad or your teammates. It’s you. You’ve listened to the advice of others. You’ve worked. You’ve corrected some things. You’ve changed your stance and your swing. Now you are ready to try again. You don’t blame your stance on your mom or your school. You made the mistake. You learned from the mistake. You fixed the mistake. Life goes on and you are a better player for it.

Scouts, do you get it? I’m making two points today. One, accept responsibility. Don’t blame others. Learn from your own mistakes. And second, think long and hard about your “heroes.” You don’t know what kind of heart beats below those numbers. You don’t know what goes on in that brain inside that cool looking helmet. You don’t know what kind of relationships that guy has with others. You don’t know how he treats his family or his friends. He “might” be a good role model. Maybe! He might be appropriate as a hero. Maybe! But you don’t know that at first. And if he is a hero, it shouldn’t be because he can steal bases or catch balls. Heroes should be about other things.

If you want a hero, look closer to home. Look at your dad. Look at your mom. Look at your Sunday school teacher or your teacher at school. People struggling to give you a better life. They probably don’t make $50 million a year. But they deserve to be up there on that pedestal. They’ve earned the right to be there. They’ve earned it because of their love, their care and their concern…..FOR YOU!!!!

And finally, the question. Is Roger Staubach one of my heroes? And the answer is yes. But not because of football. Football is where I was introduced to this player. And he was good. I so enjoyed watching him play. Fantastic plays, great passes and multiple Super Bowls. But that’s not why he is my hero. Here’s why. He’s a great dad. He’s a great family man. He’s a great businessman. He’s loyal to his school and his former teammates and coaches. He’s a trusted and compassionate friend to others. And that has nothing to do with the game he played.

© Bill Shaffer 2006