Oh, for the Love of . . . .

Spectacular photos of [athlete]’s heroic game

The [athlete] was stellar, setting a record for most saves in a [game].

Wait, what?

hero (ˈhɪərəʊ)

— n , pl -roes
1. a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude, etc
2. a man who is idealized for possessing superior qualities in any field
3. classical myth a being of extraordinary strength and courage, often the offspring of a mortal and a god, who is celebrated for his exploits
4. the principal male character in a novel, play, etc

Have we really come to this place in humanity? Where an athlete is considered a hero for playing a game that has no direct impact on the quality of human life? I grew up understanding that heroes were the ones who looked life’s bullshit in the eye and, without flinching, did whatever humanly possible to fix it, no matter the cost to them personally. Firefighters were my personal heroes. I grew up around them. They not only gave their all to keep the mountain community I was raised in from burning through numerous large-scale fires, but they also helped out in the community. Hosted fund raisers. Hell, I called most of them family because they were at our ranch so often, helping with work or just hanging out. And the kicker? They were all volunteer firefighters.

There’s a slew of men and women I’d list as heroes long before I got to an athlete who just had a good game. This is not me being a dick, saying athletes don’t work hard. I’ve done my time in sports–carried a losing water polo team through four grueling years with only one other person who could actually swim. We’d be in the pool the entire match, only getting out if we were hurt or about to drown from exhaustion. I get it. Sports are hard work. Take years of dedication to reach professional levels.

It isn’t the same as pulling a kitten from a burning building and giving it oxygen.

It doesn’t demand the same sacrifices as a soldier driving down a dirt road in a hostile country, never knowing if they’ll hit an IED. But they drive on because they’re hauling medical supplies for a village stuck in the center of the conflict zone.

An athlete doesn’t sacrifice sleep to make sure a surgery patient doesn’t code in the middle of the night.

They aren’t asked say goodbye to their families over Skype on the off-chance this mission is their last.

And if the worse happens, at least an athlete’s family has a body to bury.

Yes, shit happens and they’ll wind up in some of these situations–no one can predict when an accident will occur. But at the end of the day, an athlete is hired to be an entertainer. They perform in order to give people something to focus on other than the stresses of life. It’s a wonderful thing, being able to provide a mental out for those who need it. That’s one of the reasons I write. But would I expect to be called heroic for writing a novel? Never. Not once do I sacrifice myself for others. I sit at a desk and scribble whatever insanity pops into my head.

Media, leave words like heroic for those who’ve earned it. Otherwise we forget what it truly means.

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