Hero: a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength (wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
As those of you following college football may know, the University of Hawaii Warriors finished the season undefeated. Granted, this is a significant accomplishment, especially for them; the last time this happened was more than a decade ago (I can’t find the specific date right now). The team will be “guest of honor” in the Kapolei City Lights Parade.
I don’t think their accomplishment makes them heroes, much less deserves a hero’s welcome. They did their job; I don’t think what they did was exceptionally courageous or noble. They just happened to do better than the other team. It’s what teams do all the time; one side wins or the other does.
This isn’t the first time a Hawaiian sports team has received an honorary parade. When the Ewa Beach Little League team won the Little League World Series, they also received a “hero’s welcome” with a parade. Again, they did what they were supposed to do and they don’t justify the title of “heroes”. They just lost less than the other teams.
The main problem I have with elevating athletes to hero status is that it’s a slap in the face of true heroes: military, firefighters, law enforcement, etc. These are people who put their lives on the line everyday, never knowing if they will arrive home safely at night, who voluntarily face arduous situations and hardships to protect others. You know, the whole “so that others may live” thing.
Sorry, but athletes don’t face hazardous situations. Not all of them get multi-million dollar contracts and all the perks but they definitely don’t have it rough. Sure, they practice all the time, exercise for hours everyday, and are often on the road for weeks out of the year. But doctors have worse schedules and face way more stress. If a ball player has a bad day, the team may lose a game; if a doctor or police officer has a bad day, someone may die.
The military personnel in the Middle East are also heroes. Granted, I don’t believe they are fighting to “keep America free” or any such nonsense but that’s a political issue. They’re there, doing their job, facing potential death everyday. Especially for the Reservists and National Guardsmen it has to be rough; many of them have cushy desk jobs in “real life” and now they have a chance of being killed or injured because they were sent over there.
Chances are very good that I will be going over there next year. Even if I get stuck running a LAN in an air-conditioned office, I’ll be away from my family for 6-12 months with the potential of either getting killed while on taking a turn on convoy duty or getting shelled by mortars or rockets. I don’t know what to expect yet but I definitely don’t think a bunch of “punk-ass kids” deserve more recognition than I or my fellow military comrades get.