Do you need a hero?

Rememeber when we were young, I’m talking about before we were teenagers, and there were those certain pro athletes or movie stars you idolized and were in awe of? For me it was baseball players like George Brett, Nolan Ryan, and Rod Carew. I have also always been a huge fan of Harrison Ford and he is probably my favorite actor to this day. Those guys were all much older than I was then, and since we’ve all aged, they’re all much older than I am now, but what about the players and stars of today?

Famous people have this aura, to me anyway, of being somehow larger than life, maybe removed from normal time. Now that I’ve been thinking about it though, it’s weird to read about current entertainers and pro athletes and see their ages, and think good lord, he’s younger than I am. I’m certainly not old, but I feel a bit of the mystique is gone, a bit of that untouchable quality.

When you think of your contemporaries, people who grew up in the same time you did, and there’s all these famous people the same age or younger, could you really relate to them on any level? Maybe, fun to consider I guess? Is it weird that I feel this way? Maybe I’ve just become jaded. Maybe it’s a kid thing- famous folks intimidate the young because they’re so far removed from the reality of a kid.

Maybe the problem is that in today’s world, entertainers and sports stars, the performers of the world, are splashed around in every form of media imaginable. We are given the inside look to every aspect of their lives so there really isn’t any mystery about them. Nothing to really fantasize about.

I think another problem is that the stars cannot have any fallacies with out us knowing about them. Back when I was a kid, I’m sure (I know, thanks to the internet) that ball players and movie stars did drugs, caroused, and got arrested with the best of them, but it wasn’t splashed all over, we didn’t hear about it every day! I’m not sure there’s as many stars worthy of idolization any more. Hell, even my idols, guys like Brett and Ryan, had their not-so-shining moments. See “The Pine Tar Incident,” or “Ryan v. Ventura.”

Who are the people you idolized growing up? Do the stars of today still carry the same regal air?

 Dude Write

16 thoughts on “Do you need a hero?

  1. I think the main issue is $. Today’s star athletes make SOOOO much $ that they are often so far removed from reality, and it’s hard for us (the average Joe) to relate to them (and they to us).

    They do still exist, but they are farther and few in between.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

  2. I thnk you’re right about money being an issue, Michael. Money has RUINED professional sports for me in many ways. In one sense though, the amount of money players or movie stars make today is almost an afterthought, only because it’s not unusual for them to make astronomical sums.

  3. I agree. Gone are the days when sports were played for the sake of the sport and the fans that enjoyed them. Now they don’t play for the love of the sport, they play for the love of the money then whine when they are fined 250,000 for playing dirty. It’s a business now. Fathers and Son’s can no longer just hit the park for an afternoon of ball. It’s an activity that must be saved for and then recovered from on next weeks check.

  4. I refuse to watch any sport that goes on strike. I don’t care why. I don’t care if it’s greedy owners, or greedy players. I’m not going to support it. I used to love the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs. Haven’t even looked at a score since they went on strike. I have heroes too, but they get to be heroes on merit alone. Terry Fox is one.

  5. If I were to have a hero, it would be Peyton Manning. But as the discussion goes, it’s all about money these days and because of that, my hero was taken from me.

    Gone are the days when a player spends his entire career playing for one team. The fans can no longer connect with their favorite teams because the faces change so much and it’s hard to keep track of who is who.

    For years, I convinced myself that there are players who are still passionate about the sport and not about money. I have always been a die hard fan of the NFL…up until their collective bargaining agreement ordeal. Then I lost all respect for the players. I try to remain as enthusiastic about football but it’s just not the same.

    Cash killed American sports! Look at ticket prices these days! It’s insane! You now have to save up for weeks to go to a game and be broke in the followings weeks afterwards. Maybe if they didn’t have to pay the players so much, the fans could still enjoy the game!

    • Kevin, I wrote that not realizing what it reminded me of and when I went back to read it, I almost put a link to that song in! Floyd is my all-time favorite band. Good call, sir!

  6. Great point Sean.
    I remember the first time a Playboy playmate was younger than me, it was weird.
    My oldest is 18 and recently became a rabid Capitals fan, he was in a weird funk after the Caps drafted a guy who was 3 months younger than he was.

    It is harder to respect an athlete Or actor younger than yourself. I appreciate people who don’t care what society says. Tom Selleck lost a lot of work due to his political beliefs not being in line with Hollywood and I respect that. I like Peyton Manning because he wants to win so badly and works hard at it, but makes ridiculous commercials that make fun of himself. Hines Ward never stopped smiling even after someone hit him good. I think when an athlete turns down money to stay with his current team, that is admirable.

    I don’t get the Tiger mystique at all.


  7. I am still a huge Nolan Ryan fan, and think he’s the greatest pitcher the game has ever seen. Yes he had his moments (schooling Robin Ventura is a classic) but he was honest, pure, and didn’t start his own vodka or energy drink company.

    He was classy. There aren’t many/any classy athletes or celebrities around anymore. Maybe Clooney. Actually yeah, Clooney. The fact he’s dating a former pro-wrestler is bonus dude-points.

  8. Great post. I agree that the Internet and the constant stream of information makes it hard for ANYONE to remain clean in the eyes of young people. I idolized Madonna when I was a kid, which I think either meant that I was secretly gay or secretly wanted to do her — I’m convinced it was the latter and now, 30 years later, I can say that she doesn’t hold the same thrill. I am the same age as Jeter and although he is my favorite Yankee (and current ballplayer) it is REALLY hard to idolize him at this age.

  9. Stars today don’t carry the same aura as they did when I was a kid. I worked in newspapers for several years and dealt with many baseball Hall of Famers and other big sports names and I realized then that they were just people. Maybe famous, but most were down to earth and didn’t “big time” people. I imagine they grew up with heroes, too, so maybe they remember.

  10. I agree that there aren’t many great role models these days.

    One of my biggest heroes was Marty Murray, a scrub for the Flyers. He was really short, but made up for his size with pure and relentless energy.

  11. Steve Yzerman. Yes, I still idolize him although I always view him as the player he was rather than his current role as a GM. Played his whole career with one team, captain for 20 years, and the perfect teammate. This will never, ever, happen again – mostly because it’s no longer important to the player or the team that it does. I agree with most that money has ruined professional sports. When heroes of today get caught cheating, get arrested, or sign elsewhere for the big paycheck they are quickly and easily replaced. Sports heroes just aren’t what they used to be.

  12. The only people I can somewhat idolize are those athletes that stick with their team despite better offers and actors who take drastic pay cuts just to work on a film they’re adament about. Though, those people are far an few between.

    I really don’t know what to think of stars nowadays. It’s to easy to paint them in a bad light. I think the media dismembers these celebrities because people (not all people) generally like to see those more successful than them fail at some points. People eat up stories about the Kardashians and whatever although stars there are.

  13. Thanks for all the feedback, folks. I remember an article in the newspaper here a few years ago, when Chris Carpenter was re-signing a contract with the Cardinals. He mentioned that it was basically his pleasure to take less money to stay in a place he wanted to be in. Refreshing, though rare. I’m still a sports fan, despite their best efforts to totally ruin everything, but I certainly can’t afford to go see games like perhaps I used to.

  14. I don’t remember idolizing any sports figures, for me it was John Glenn. I always wanted to be an astronaut.

    Every two years, the navy would send out a message listing the requirements one had to meet to apply for the space program. I alway fell short in one area – eyesight.

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