November 16, 2023

Our Heroes are Not Perfect

Are you a sports fan?

I am.

Since I was a kid, I was hooked on football and later on became an avid basketball fan. I AM a TARHEEL after all.

As my kids grew up, they tried every sport essentially. My son truly loved playing basketball and put in countless hours drilling, working out, practicing and playing basketball. My daughter is a competitive volleyball player and recently won her school’s first State Championship as the Setter.

I recognize that I don’t fit the mold of a typical sports fan.  But I am.

A few months ago, Dwayne Wade was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The 25 minute emotional speech included tributes to family, teammates, coaches and more. One of the moments that truly stood out to me was Wade’s tribute to Allen Iverson. For those that might not be aware, AI suffered much adversity while he played for the Sixers and showed true growth in the face of serious challenges and haters.

Wade said “Our heroes are not always perfect. Instead, they possess a relatability that makes them touchable and real.”

WOW!  What a statement. It hit me hard.  When I was little – I really did think that perfection was the ideal and all the smart ones –  The leaders.  The successful people. They were all flawless.

But this is simply not the case. The world is full of examples that we could study to prove this point. But, I will refrain to do so here. What I admire is Wade’s use of the Hall of Fame platform to make this statement. Too often, we look up to athletes and celebrities with the expectation that they cannot falter or make a mistake. It isn’t realistic. 

Whether it’s Wade or Iverson. Reynolds or Jackman. Thompson or Swift. Nobody is immune to making a bad judgment call.  And we shouldn’t expect that from our heroes. They are humans just like you and I. With stresses, influences, pressures, tragedies, challenges, confusion whirling around in their lives too. 

Let’s treat each other and our heroes with respect and understanding. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Stop hating and passing judgment on others. When we stop to listen to each other and hear our pains, our adversities, our needs – we create community and a deeper commitment to each other.

Having lived life and recognizing my serious errors of judgment, I have forgiven myself. I am real and vulnerable all the time, every single day. I hope I can be someone’s perfectly imperfect hero.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *