The Dangers of Hero Worship

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article. – Daily Prompt


I like when the Daily Prompts coincide with something I was already bantering around in my head as a possible writing topic. Allows me to kill two birds with one stone.

My favorite news source if ESPN. When I went and pulled up their site today I saw an article about Lance Armstrong. I already had him written down as a topic I was considering writing on, so why not do so now.

Being a sports fan occasionally sports stars come along that seem to be to good to be true. Not only are they good at their sport, but they seem so good that they transcend their sport into real life. They become an inspirational story about life in general. A story you can use to encourage yourself or use as an example for how to live life in general.

For me, four particular sports individuals come to mind.

The first I think of was Pete Rose. He was my childhood sports hero. He was a player who did not have a lot of talent. But he hustled and worked harder than any other sports star I knew of at the time. To this day he has more hits than any other baseball player. He has more individual records than any other player in history. He set a great example that through hard work anything could be accomplished if you truly wanted it.

Then comes Mark Mcgwire. Baseball was hurting attendance and interest wise after the recent baseball strike. Until one summer when Mark Mcgwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds came along and waged a historic assault on the single season home run record. I respected Mcgwire and thought out of the three, he was the one who was truly doing it fair and square. The hard work and natural talent was being combined to do something amazing. Even though he played for the Reds rival I was cheering him on towards the record which he ended up setting that season and holding for a short time before Bonds eclipsed the record.

In golf there was Tiger Woods. Not only was he unbeatable on the golf course, he seemed to be perfect off the golf course as well. Having to deal with the racism issues he had to deal with as he came up. Setting a good example for how to keep a level head and not let your fame and fortune go to your head. He showed how to overcome obstacles with grace. He seemed like he was a wholesome character who always was doing the right thing.

And of course, the subject of the above news headline, Lance Armstrong. What an inspirational story. He fought cancer and overcome it. He was able to return to cycling and remain as dominant and unbeatable as ever. It was a foregone conclusion from the start of the Tour De France every year, Armstrong was going to win it. Everyone else was battling for second place.

All these stories do lead to a teaching example that we can use in real life. Just not quite the same example that I thought they taught at the time. I suppose at some point it becomes more my fault for wanting to look for individuals who are inspirational examples and believing they could actually exist.

The teaching point that these examples can all be used to serve is that people are all human. We all make mistakes. Regardless of whether we are an everyday average being or a famous superstar, movie star, or anything else. It also teaches us that we should be aware of hero worship, especially if it’s our children doing the hero worshipping.

My daughter is not quite old enough that she looks up to any sports stars, or entertainment stars as heroes. But it serves as a reminder that when she does I need to be aware of it and be sure to keep reminding her they are still humans who will make mistakes in life.

Mom and I have already made her aware that we make mistakes. And that even though mistakes are made we are still loved and forgiven if we ask for it. But when the time comes it’s going to be important to make sure she knows that the same goes for everyone, regardless of how perfect or unflappable they seem to be in the media.

Another great teaching point that can be taught from these examples. You have to be willing to admit your mistakes when you make them. All four examples show people who refused to admit their mistake and ask for forgiveness when they were caught.

Some of them are now admitting to it and asking for forgiveness, but only because they are trying to gain something for themselves, not because they truly feel sorry or that they think they did something wrong. Rose wants to admit his forgiveness because he wants to gain admission to the Hall of Fame. Of course he did this by writing a book which he made money off of. Armstrong because he wants his foundation to not suffer the backlash it has for his affiliation with them. He is doing this through an interview with Oprah which I am sure he is being paid well for.

I can’t help but think that in a lot of these cases the situation would of been so much easier for them to handle had they just admitted it up front and asked for forgiveness.

Are you aware of your children and who they are looking up to? Have you made them aware that even though it seems the person is perfect they have flaws just like all of us? If not maybe you need to consider asking the question and having the discussion.


This entry was posted in Baseball, Character, Children, Cincinnati Reds, Daily Prompt, Faith, Family, Father-Daughter, Forgiveness, Golf, Hall of Fame, MLB Baseball, Morality, News Stories, Parenting, Personal Growth, Priorities, Responsibility, Right vs Wrong, Sports, Teaching, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Dangers of Hero Worship

  1. Pingback: HUNGRY SIN « hastywords

  2. I recently used the same prompt as you did and I love where you took the prompt. It’s easy to forget that our heroes are human and that they can make mistakes as well. The first role model I think of when I say that are our parents. When we are younger, we tend to look up to our parents and think they are above making mistakes. Then you grow older and you realize that they made mistakes or they took a risk with a decision not knowing what the consequences would be. Thank you again for sharing this post :).

  3. All humans are fallible and the idea of hero worship is simply not my kind of thing. I will admire them for their achievements, learn where necessary and that’s that. Great post.

  4. Pingback: Being P.P. | The Hempstead Man

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