It is an important part of our journey through life to have people we want to emulate and one day aspire to be. But, as you grow through life you may realize your hero wasn’t all that you built him up to be.
Growing up, I was a basketball fanatic! To a degree, nothing much has changed. I just don’t play as often as I use too.
I was born in 1986. Growing up in the 90’s, I had the opportunity to watch and idolize a man most people would say is the greatest player to ever step foot on a basketball court. That’s right, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, his “Airness”!
Everybody wanted to be like Mike when I was growing up. But, I didn’t just want to be “Like Mike” on the basketball court, I wanted to be like him off the court too. Being so young and a bit naive, I thought he was the perfect human being.
Michael Jordan was incredible on the court, unstoppable even. He could score at will and often times finished with a high flying, flashy, in your face dunk! On top of that, when it came to his off the court antics you never heard about him getting into trouble like a Charles Barkley, for example.
Jordan’s greatness on the court and his lack of problems off the court told me he was special. It told me he was someone to aspire to and emulate. I wanted to exemplify his behavior in my life. Great on the court and even greater off the court.
One morning when I was 18 years old, I remember watching ESPN Sportscenter. One of the headlines was about Michael Jordan. His wife of 17 years, Juanita, had filed for divorce due to reasons of infidelity. When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it. My initial thought was, “If Michael Jordan cheats on his wife, then every man cheats.”
My Last Real Hero
Since that day, I lost faith in Michael Jordan. To this day, I no longer want to be “Like Mike”. Recently, I lost faith in another role model, my father.
I never thought my father was perfect, but I’ve always thought he had above average intelligence. Athletically, I was better than him at basketball by the age of 12. Outside of sports, my father has some great attributes but they are far overshadowed by how judgmental, condescending, and down right cruel he can be toward others.
After a recent conversation, I was wondering why his comments bothered me so much. I rarely give negativity a second thought when it comes from anyone else. Then I realized, its because he’s my father and more than anyone else I look up to him for both guidance and acceptance.
To make one thing very clear, I love my father. He has done so much for me throughout my life and even today. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model and inspiration growing up.
But, when the people you look to for guidance and acceptance are no longer doing those things for you, you have to begin doing it for yourself. I now feel I am eye level with who I looked up to as my last real hero. Its time for me to step out from underneath my father’s wing and begin to stand next to him.
Now, my opinion of myself means more to me than his. I no longer have a need for his approval.
So, today I’m left with no real heroes in my life. I have no one to look up to, so I’ve volunteered myself. When your heroes stop being your heroes, its up to you to exemplify what you thought was so heroic about them in the first place.
We have to stand up and realize the qualities we saw in these individuals who may have failed us have always been within us. It is and has always been a part of our own biology, our own makeup.
Its time we became our own heroes.
In the comment section below, mention some of your own real life heroes and what it was about them you thought was so heroic.
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