Neil Peart from Rush wrote a song, Nobody’s Hero. Ordinary, every day people who are otherwise heroes in the eyes of others. To me a hero is one who rescues you from something, saves the day for someone, fights for what he stands for, or dramatically affects your life.
I had a unique opportunity this weekend to visit with one of my friends from high school who I feel had a huge impact on me. I’ve felt very grateful recently of those in my life who support me and are in one way or another, a part of who I am. After getting to visit and cram so many impressionable moments in a short afternoon with my friend, my wife Mariah, and I were driving home from Chicago. She was checking things out on the internet on her phone when she read a posting about Whitney Houston’s death. I didn’t believe it at first. Just a few months ago, an internet hoax about Bon Jovi’s death was rampant. The further she researched yielded that it was in fact true. I was truly saddened to hear this. I first heard her music when I was a junior in high school. She was so beautiful and had such an amazing voice. I remember how I felt the days I learned when other celebrities died. I remember John Lennon’s death being on the news, yet at that age for me, didn’t realize the impact. Others, namely Jerry Garcia, Christopher Reeve and Michael Jackson. I look back and think about how devastated I felt. I cried the day Superman died. I shed tears times today as I reflect on the meaning that Whitney’s “Greatest Love Of All” has for me. When an artist, a leader or an athlete, are able to reach out to people and touch their hearts, it is truly amazing the effect they have on other’s lives.
I just so happened to receive a message from my 9th grade Geometry teacher today. I replied and told her that she was the most influential teacher I ever had in high school. Her impact on me helped me become a 4.0 student for the better part of the remainder of my high school career.
I think back on how Michael Jordan, Ivan Lendl affected my life and many others. People like Joan Benoit, Grete Waitz, Alberto Salazar and Bill Rodgers and how they impacted me as a young runner in the early ’80s.
Heroes come in many forms, in the way of my parents, my wife, my kids, those in high school that comforted me in the right ways, with the right words. All of which came to my rescue or changed me forever. Thank you for being there.
And for those who are athletes, teachers, parents, big brothers, big sisters, rock stars, courageous fire fighters, you are all heroes whether you realize it or not, you’re affecting someone, somewhere.
To those of you holding out for a hero, they’re everywhere. Surround yourself with the right people. Do great things. Do great for others.