Alex Rodriguez just admitted using steroids.
Michael Phelps smoked pot.
Besides being phenomenal athletes Phelps and A-Rod have something else in common, they're both human.
A-Rod is a great ballplayer and Phelps swims like a merman, but what qualifies either of these men to be worshiped as heroes? Our culture perpetually lifts ordinary men to "hero status" because they have a singular extraordinary talent.
Charles Barkley had it right when he said, "I am not a role model... Parents should be role models." Let's face the fact that celebrity idols are really in the business of selling sneakers, fragrances, sugary breakfast cereals, Happy Meals, soda pop, extreme energy drinks, expensive watches, designer t-shirts, books, fancy cell phones, satellite TV, credit cards, video games, and the list goes on and on and on.
Everyone is human. Being in a commercial or on a cereal box doesn't make you a hero. It makes you a pitchman.
We should admire real heroic acts. Acts that require courage, valor, fortitude and the will for self-sacrifice. We need to understand that the real heroes are ordinary people, that act heroically, when they are called to do so.
Capt. Chesley "Sulley" Sullenberger III is recognized as a hero for the Miracle on the Hudson a courageous water-landing that spared New York City a major tragedy and saved the lives of 155 passengers. Rosa Parks is recognized for her heroic act of civil disobedience which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Heroes abound, think of all the FDNY firefighters that rushed into the twin towers to save innocent people on 9/11. A staggering 343 firefighters laid down their lives that day.
Remember, real heroes are real people just like you and me. They act with courage, valor, fortitude and the will for self-sacrifice when they are called to do so.
On the other hand, celebrity idols are pitchmen that try to sell name-brand merchandise to a nation of rabid consumers.
We are all ordinary people, we are all human. In fact it is our humanity that allows us to be great. Our humanity demands that we feel pain, fear and anger, but it gives us the opportunity to transcend these feelings as well. Our humanity gives us all the opportunity to be heroes.
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