Posted by Leslie at Aug 14, 2012 6:00 am
Well, the Olympics are over. I really enjoyed watching several of the events–loved the swimming, gymnastics and track & field in particular. I am in awe of Michael Phelps and think it’s pretty fantastic that we all got to bear witness to the birth of a legend whose name will go down in history.
But some of the news coverage I’ve seen regarding the Olympics got me thinking about something the other day. A lot of news commentators call Phelps and other Olympic athletes who are AMAZINGLY talented and gifted and a true credit to their nations, “Hero.”
I dunno. Is it just me? I have a problem with that word used in that context.
To me, a hero is the firefighter who races into a burning building and rescues a family. A hero is a cop who stops a murderer from killing again, who thwarts an act of terrorism, or defends his country or his family, willing to lay down his life to do what is right.
Athletes, in my opinion, just aren’t “heroes.” They’re to be admired, congratulated and held up as the epitome of sportsmanship and physical prowess. We should sing their praises and be proud of them and cheer their victories, but I just don’t know that they should be called “heroes.”
It seems like the word is just tossed around too easily–and I’m not talking about the heroes of our books. I mean in everyday life, words just don’t seem to be used as carefully or respectfully as they should. To me, the word hero is something that should be reserved for guys like Captain Sully who set down the plane in the Hudson, or Sergeant Dennis Weichel who was struck and killed while saving an Afghan child from getting run down in the street a few months ago.
Athletes = Awesome.
But they’re not necessarily heroes.
Am I alone in feeling this way? Anybody else ever have that reaction? And what did you think of the Olympics? What was your favorite “moment”?