I was a huge B.J. Surhoff fan. He played baseball for the Brewers and the Orioles. I didn’t just meet him, I rushed into him at a bar at the University of North Carolina and I apparently freaked him out. He wouldn’t even let me buy him a beer. It was awkward.
I also was once backstage at a show of my favorite band, Bad Religion, and met the lead singer, Greg Graffin. I learned my lesson not to bum-rush him. But, since I had just finished his book, I figured I had an “in.” He merely said “hey” and walked away.
In both instances, I was really let down…
My son wears a Batman mask to school and even wears it to bed. Maybe he has it correct, be your own hero.
I’ve met and interacted with tons of professional athletes since it’s my career. Some are really cool and great people, and some I’m not so sure about. Having athletes and celebrities as heroes though is dumb. Just because someone can throw a pitch 98 mph doesn’t make them a good person. We have NO IDEA the type of person he or she is off of the field. We are who we are when we are alone.
To be fair, athletes often don’t have a choice if they want to be a role model, it’s a de facto position. I was afraid to be a role model or a leader because I thought I’d messed up and didn’t want to let others around me down.
It is far better to have quality people as heroes, and perhaps they just so happen to be great athletes. These types of heroes are easier to root for. Dwayne Allen, Rickie Fowler, Derrick Brooks, Webb Simpson, Maya Moore, Fred Barnett, and Kirk Cousins are a few athletes that receive my check of approval as heroes.
I want to add one to the list, Zach Miskovic.
Zach Miskovic is a hockey player and currently a minor leaguer for The Indy Fuel. After a Sunday home game, all families in attendance were encouraged to skate on the ice immediately after the game while the players rejoined the ice and skated with everyone.
I can’t imagine that after a game in which they lost their third home game in a row, that skating for another 45 minutes was the best of times.
I thought, at first, that Zach merely had a ton of his own children because he was skating, chatting, and playing around with so many. You could tell he was enjoying the moment.
At one point, he skated up to my daughter Ryan, grabbed her, and skated along with her. I doubt there was even one kid on the ice who he did not touch or talk to during the 45 minutes. Real heroes seem to go above and beyond.
What’s more impressive is that at dinner that evening, we saw Zach eating at a nearby table with his friends and family. Ryan and I both went up to thank him and he said “Hey Ryan!” “Did you have fun?” Now, I struggle with remembering my neighbor’s names sometimes, but out of all of those kids, he still remembered Ryan. Wow!
I told my daughter that it takes as much effort to be an outstanding guy as it does to be miserable. It’s not about messing up, it’s more about doing our best with where ever we are. Maybe it is okay to have heroes…
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out our most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness