With Lance Armstrong’s recent confession to Oprah, it seems there are many fans who feel he let them down. I guess he was considered a hero by many in the cycling world, especially when he refused to admit his drug enhancement use and fought his critics. Put too high on a pedestal makes the fall even further from grace.
I have tried to limit my hero worship to people I actually know. It seems that if you choose carefully, you will not be the victim of such delusion.
When I was in eleventh grade, my speech teacher asked the class to think about one person who made an impact on their lives. This person could be famous, in show business, an author, an artist or someone who made a difference to us. Everyone was to choose carefully and then introduce the person with teasers to see if the class could correctly identify our hero.
Of course, the first person who popped into my head was my Dad. He fit the criteria of having a unique story, had done some amazing things in his life and was memorable.
The next day, when Mrs. Giles called on me to present my hero to the class, I was eager to share. I began with a teaser that this person completed high school in one year and was written up in The Chicago Tribune. No correct guesses. Then I asked if anyone knew a person who went to The University of Chicago making use of The GI Bill, completed their undergraduate degree and graduated from law school while working full time and raising a family.
Again, no one was able to figure it out. My final teaser was not so subtle. I asked if anyone knew who the best attorney in central Illinois was. This was a bit too obvious, and they were able to correctly identify my Dad.
I was so proud that day because I knew that my hero would not only never let me down, but he would always be on a pedestal with his feet firmly planted on the ground. There would be no fall from grace for Dad in Abby’s and my eyes. Once a hero, always a hero!