When I was growing up my Heroes were Elvis, Willie Mays, Kenny Stabler, Bobby Kennedy, Juan Marichal, Mike Smith (Dave Clark Five), Jimi Hendrix, and lastly Rick Derringer.
Willie was every kid’s Hero if they played Baseball. The others, besides Elvis, Stabler, Kennedy and Jimi might be a bit obscure. But that’s not the point. My point is, having Heroes is not necessarily a good thing. Joe Montana doesn’t want you running up to him on the street, or interrupting him at dinner for an autograph. Sure, he won’t say no, but just think how rude it is. In fact I would say don’t have Heroes because more than likely they’re not Heroes, they’re Idols.
Audie Murphy WWII Hero
True Heroes do things that do not make sense under normal circumstances. The Firemen who raced into the Twin Towers to bring as many people out, those are Heroes. True heroes are servants. True Heroes are people like the late Audie Murphy. If you get a chance watch his Movie “Red Badge of Courage”. It tells the story of how a small soldier took it upon himself to rush the enemy and in doing so, he neutralized 3 Nazi Machine Gun nests. When asked why he did it, he responded like most Heroes: “They were killing my friends. I had to stop them”. That’s a HERO.
Sergeant Alvin York WWI Hero
Alvin York also known as “Sergeant York” was the WWI American that captured a whole squad of the Enemy and marched them back to his lines single handedly. Again, York, who tried to get out of the draft because he was an “Objector” and found it against his Christian beliefs to kill. When he was awarded the the Congressional Medal of Honor he was ask how an objector could be a war hero. Again he responded: “They were killing us and I had to do something”. Most true Heroes are “Reluctant Heroes”.
Role models are another thing. In music, if you’re a serious player, you have admiration for many professional players. When you become a professional, you can hear the influences of your role models. But Heroes? No. I’ve had the fortune and misfortune of meeting many of my Hero/role models. Many I was able to talk to as one musician to another. Some acted like it was an honor for me to be in the same room with them. (Did I say that right)? I don’t want to drop names, but I will say that Neil Young, Edgar Winter and in spite of what a grouchy old bastard he comes across to the press; Dick Dale (The King of Surf Guitar) is one of the nicest mentors I’ve ever met.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: “Don’t put Hero status on anyone”. Like I said above, most true Heroes are reluctant Heroes, they just know what has to be done and they do it out of courage and/or compassion. Most Heroes don’t enjoy being Heroes. The father that stays in a miserable marriage for the “Sake of the Kids”, I consider a hero. Especially if he gives up a better woman and perhaps a better paying job.
Idols, on the other hand, are merely a disappointment waiting to happen. I don’t know how many times Willie Mays struck out with the bases loaded. Jimi Hendrix gave me the foundation for most of my solos, but a hero? No, he died choking on his own vomit. Kenny Stabler? He was quoted in 1977 as saying he beat Fran Tarkenton and the Vikings in the Super Bowl with a Hangover.
How come Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy are still not in the Hall of fame? They were Baseball fans’ biggest heroes. If not for that damn HGH. They weren’t heroes, they were biologically engineered freaks. Even without the steroid scandals, they were merely entertainers.
Hero worship is Idolatry. It’s not good for you and it is not fair to the person you are calling a Hero. Sure it may be flattering to “Your Hero” at first, but once you realize they’re just flesh and blood humans that are unable to walk on water, they become just another person who will die someday. I’m sorry to ruin your fantasies.