What is a hero?

This is going to be a bit different from my normal posts. Usually, I post about media, or sports or politics. Not this week. This week, I am going to write about all three. But it won’t be in a way that many would predict.

Last week, I was on YouTube when I saw a comment on a video that struck my curiosity. The comment was saying why was Tim Tebow regarded as a hero when nobody seems to remember Pat Tillman. It is an interesting thought. In this culture, you ask people who their heroes are, the answers are disappointing. I don’t think any active athlete is worthy of the name ‘hero.’ In this culture, we worship these idols and that is not necessarily a good thing. Tim Tebow is a great Christian man and I commend him for trying to bring honor back to the religion by showing you can be religious and in the mainstream lifestyle. However, does that make him a hero? No. There were plenty other good Christian men before Tebow playing at a professional level. Just because Tebow has this good image, that does not make him a hero. What is a real hero? According to dictionary.com, a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. Well, if that is the case, I think we greatly overuse the word ‘hero.’ A hero is brave. What’s so brave about being an athlete? Jackie Robinson was a hero for breaking the color barrier in 1947. He had to go through so much and he took it on bravely. Pat Tillman was a hero to me. I didn’t follow sports during his career. I began following his story a couple years ago. Pat Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals and was a rising star. Then, our country was attacked on September 11. Tillman played the rest of the 2001-2002 season because of his commitment to his team. Then he left and joined the Army Rangers. He served tours of duty before he was killed in a friendly fire attack. Tillman lost his life serving our country. But do we honor him anymore? No. What about Roberto Clemente? Back in the 1970s, there was a massive earthquake in Central America. Clemente boarded a plane to bring supplies to survivors. They never found his body. The plane crashed in the middle of the ocean. Do we consider Clemente a hero? Yes, but not enough. I don’t think we honor the fallen enough. We have our athletes who are paid disgustingly amounts of money. The title of ‘hero’ must be earned. Tillman and Clemente went above and beyond to earn those titles. Playing a ballgame does nothing to earn it.

What about in the media? There are plenty of people who would say “My hero is [insert celebrity that you may like or dislike here]. Are you kidding? Name me a single celebrity that has rightfully earned the title of hero. Every now and then, we here of celebrities doing something heroic. Ryan Gosling saved someone from a fire. Yes, that is brave. But does it make him a true hero?∫ Celebrities are supposedly talented, even if that seems less and less common in recent years. I would never consider a celebrity a personal hero. Don’t get me wrong. There are some celebrities who are doing a lot of good to the world. But does that make them a hero? We are overusing this word ‘hero.’ Various celebrities getting the ‘hero’ title for their work to charity. But they are using the gifts given to them. They are not making a true sacrifice.

Politicians are often considered heroes too. However, this is very arguable. A hero to one side of the political spectrum can be considered an enemy to the other side. To me, that’s not fair either. Do I consider [insert politician of a political party here] a hero? It depends. I think that there were heroes serving in politics in the past. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a war hero. So was George H.W. Bush. I think they deserve those titles. But most politics now seem to be a blame game. That’s not heroic. Not at all.

A hero to me is someone who is brave. A hero to me is someone who puts everything above himself. A hero is someone who wants to make a difference. I personally have my journalism inspirations. But would I call them heroes? I don’t know. Who do I know are heroes? Soldiers are heroes. Food for thought. Less than 1% of the United States population serves in the Armed Forces. Are they considered heroes? Not nearly as much as they should be. Soldiers are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. A solider is a hero. A police officer is a hero. A fire fighter is a hero.

It’s fine that there are idols in sports. It’s fine that there are idols in music and television. It’s fine if you want to idolize a politician, past or present. But I think too often, idols are given the name ‘hero’ when they have done nothing to deserve it. It’s good that we have these idols. But they are not heroes.