Hero Uncovered

July 11, 2015 by  
Filed under B2P Hot Stove

All too often in conversation I hear elite athletes referred to as heroes. The USA women’s national soccer team’s World Cup victory parade was sprinkled with signs “Our Heroes” along the route. I would be the first to laud the hard work, dedication and mental toughness it takes to be a competitive athlete. These men and women are goal driven and sacrifice, in many ways, to attain excellence. However, when we use the term hero for a stellar athletic performer or performance the word is contextually deficient.

A hero or heroine, in the ancient Greek, is a person of character who in the face of danger displays courage and also moral excellence. Have there been athletes who have been heroes. Yes, of course! Jackie Robinson comes to mind for the virtue he displayed during a time of racial inequality in pro baseball. Those athletes who have served their country in war time like Pat Tillman, the former NFL player, who gave up a lucrative pro career to join the Army in the aftermath of September 11th and lost his life while serving in Afghanistan. These are individuals who have displayed heroic traits that define them as heroes.

As great of an achievement it’s to score 3 goals in a soccer game, pitch a no-hitter, or win a world championship the feat itself is not heroic but what should be admired is the respective athletes God given ability bridged with hard work. The pursuit of excellence athletic or otherwise, strengthens the will that can lead an individual to someday act in heroic fashion thus deserving of being called hero.

Ron Meyer is the Creator and Host of Blessed2Play a 30 min weekly radio program that uncovers the role that faith plays in the lives of athletes and sports professionals from around the country.