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Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

Mar 4, 2008
Growing up 20 years ago was quite different than it is today, and for obvious reasons. Kids in the 80's -- before the advent of video games -- used to climb trees, ride bicycles, and play sports (the kind that used real balls, not remote controls). City-organized little league football, baseball, soccer and basketball as well as backyard pickup games led to junior high and high school sports that were more organized and disciplined.

The widespread love and desire to compete in these sports at early ages made sports figures more than celebrities and icons of fashion and fame, but bona fide heroes -- the role models of a generation and the standard bearer for hard work and perseverance. Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, Steve Young, and Cal Ripken were the icons of a generation, and always seemed to stand for positivity and honesty. There were the occasional allegations of infidelity or gambling trouble, but those were relatively few compared to the positive aspects of their public lives.

Those days seem gone now, as an enormous cloud hangs over the sports world. From steroids accusations in baseball to dog fighting and numerous shootings involving players in the NFL, and let us not forget the daily reports coming from the NBA of illegal gambling, promiscuity, and gang-related activities among some of the most famous players -- the athletes of today are far from role models.

But all hope is not lost, right? Surely there are some celebrities that are worthy of emulation from the children of this generation. Of course, let us not look at the entertainment industry with their Britney Spears and Paris Hiltons who spend as much time on the front page for drugs, alcohol and varying degrees of "bad behavior" as they do for the things that SHOULD make them celebrities (acting, fashion, philanthropy, etc).

From Lindsey Lohan to Michael "Kramer" Richards, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of which celebrities are in an anger management program in California, and which ones are the latest to enter a drug rehab center in Arizona -- much less who is wearing who on the red carpet hoopla preceding Hollywood ceremonies.

These people are a far cry from role models, but sadly they are looked up upon by many young kids across the country. But alas, there are a few exceptions. Perhaps the biggest celebrity in the entire world at this moment is Disney star and singing sensation Miley Cyrus (Hanna Montana), who has outsold U2 and the Rolling Stones during her last tour. Miley's clean cut image is probably genuine, but even if it isn't entirely, the perception to young people is that you can be a good person and still maintain the glitz and glamour of celebrity.

Hopefully the children of today are not completely devoid of heroes and role models, but if they are, that makes it just that much more important for the average run-of-the-mill adults to be positive influences in the hopes that we can be someone's hero.
About the Author
Art Gib is a freelance writer. Lohaga (http://www.thesundancecenter.com) is a drug rehab center in Arizona that strives to help people overcome addiction and dependence and thus becoming worthy of being a hero.
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