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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Miami Herald: The games return but with a much different perspective

``I don’t care if we win the World Series—I won’t celebrate,’’ outfielder Stan Javier said.

I think that sentiment is widespread. Sports has been put in its place by the heinous act last week and it must be incredibly difficult for players to get excited about playing a game.

The Original Gary Posted: September 19, 2001 at 06:44 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   1. Big Ed Posted: September 19, 2001 at 07:20 PM (#72728)
I am getting tired of all this holier-than-thou nonsense about how sports are put back in proper perspective, how hard it is for ballplayers to go out and do their jobs, etc.

I think the vast majority of people has always recognised sports for what they are -- a diversion, entertainment. Right now, I want to be entertained and diverted. I am tired of watching the grimness on the news all the time (and if I see 'normalcy' one more time I am going to scream; the word is normality) and eventually life goes on. As far as the ballplayers finding it hard to play, I say "Suck it up, get out there and do the job you are getting paid for." Everyone else has returned to their jobs, hard as that may be; these guys get paid an incredible amount of money to entertain us and are ######## because it might be hard on them.
   2. Bob Koo Posted: September 19, 2001 at 08:12 PM (#72731)
I totally agree with Big Ed. What happened last week will always weigh heavy on our hearts. But that doesn't mean we're not capable of joy and celebration anymore. At my friend's wedding next weekend, I'm going to celebrate like crazy. I'm gonna celebrate my friend's birthdays happily as well. If my Mets can somehow pull off this division miracle, I'll be singing in the streets.

There are many things in life that we can celebrate, and for many of us Americans, sports is one of them. What happened last week, in my opinion, does not change that one bit.
   3. The Original Gary Posted: September 19, 2001 at 08:25 PM (#72732)
Big Ed, how badly would you want to be entertained if you had a sister or brother that is still buried? If you think the World Series or Super Bowl has the same significance as before you are either heartless or just don't understand what is really important to people. My sympathies go out to you either way.

To consider "sports being put in proper perspective" as "holier than thou nonsense" is the dumbest thing I've seen any one say.
   4. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 19, 2001 at 09:43 PM (#72735)
For all of this talk about how excited the players aren't, one of the big themes in the New York papers this morning was how excited the Mets were at the end of last night's game and watching the Braves blow a 9th inning lead in the clubhouse. Personally, I think the competitive nature of athletes will tend to overcome their reactions to last week, given time. I wouldn't say that they have to get excited, but they probably won't be able to help themselves.
   5. Big Ed Posted: September 19, 2001 at 10:32 PM (#72736)
I should have been more precise.

Sports is never more important than as entertainment. What I am tired of is the sanctimonious pronouncements of this by writers, broadcasters, etc. whenever there is some sort of tragedy, then rabid cheering about how absolutely vital this all is when there is no tragedy. Spare me the hypocrisy.

Gary, no one buried, but one of my closest friends was injured. For what it's worth, her loudest complaint when I finally got a hold of her was that she didn't get to see the Giants play to take her mind off of things. Her opinion, not mine. Absolutely sports don't have the same significance, but to trivialize their value with hypocricy makes me sick.

Finally, will the players get into it once it starts? Sure they will. Joe Torre said in the Chicago Tribune today that after his cancer, "I thought I'd view baseball differently, but in my first game back, I was ready to sell my soul for a single in the eighth inning."
   6. David Jones Posted: September 21, 2001 at 05:39 PM (#72740)
Sports are not meaningless. Entertainment is not meaningless. I don't know what "just entertainment"--that phrase--is supposed to mean. Entertainment, sports, are not "diversions"--they are expressions of the joys of life, joys that carry on beyond any single event or tragedy, indeed, that are a fundamental part of life during times of war and times of peace.

The events of Sept. 11 do not put sports "into their proper perspective"--now we need them more than ever. I think it is wonderful to live in a culture where a man who hits a ball over a fence is a hero--as we have seen from recent events, there are some cultures that find their heroes in men who fly planes into buildings and kill thousands of people.

I want to be perfectly clear. What I'm talking about here has nothing to do with the sheltered, solipsistic banality of American life. That is NOT what sports are, that is NOT what they mean for this country, for our culture. There is a reason that sports, and the love of sports, has been around since ancient civilization--it is a fundamental expression of human joy, a celebration of life, like music, like art. If we were to muffle that celebration out of a misguided respect for the dead, we would be doing a disservice to the life-affirming principles that our culture is supposed to represent, the very reason we find the terrorists' acts abhorrent.

Since the tragedy, there are two things that have, in particular, brought me happiness. (I live near NYC, and have spoken to people who have lost relatives and friends.) One of them was listening to a new Bob Dylan album. The other, believe it or not, was when Ray Durham came charging out of his dugout when a poor umpire's decision upset him during a recent game against the Yankees. It made me so happy to see that grown men can still act so silly about a game--that it can inspire such emotions is testament to its enduring ability to bring joy to our lives.
   7. David Jones Posted: September 21, 2001 at 07:49 PM (#72743)
"Throwing around the word "hero" to describe every person who amuses and/or entertains us is equivalent to putting Tony Perez in the Hall of Fame -- by bestowing an honor on someone who is unworthy, you eliminate the honor's meaning, especially as it applies to those who are worthy."

Spare me your sermonizing. Heroes fit into many categories. You have those who are heroic for their sacrifice, for their good deeds. That's one type of hero. But heroes can also be those who show prodigious strength or resolve, and that CAN be found in the sports world. When I was eight years old, my hero was Eddie Murray. Just a first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. Just a good baseball player. Was I wrong? My point is that a hero is something you aspire to, and if American boys want to aspire to hit a baseball over a fence, well, that is a lot better than aspiring to be a suicide bomber. It's fundamentally innocent, and it is a pursuit of an athletic ideal that has been around for centuries, in cultures too numerous to mention. That we Americans now seek to knock down these athletic heroes because they AREN'T Mother Theresa is a reflection of our culture's own uneasiness when it comes to questions of morality or character. That is, we don't like what we see in ourselves, so we transfer that dislike in ourselves onto our athletes, and therefore assume that those athlete-heroes were always supposed to represent not only the physical ideal, but the moral ideal as well, when before that was never the case.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 22, 2001 at 02:47 AM (#72744)
All this discussion is about is the proper sense of proportion we invest in our rooting for our athletic surrogate heroes. In this case, it's simply about how long the grace period should have been before resuming the normal sports schedule. That's all it's about. For the most part, I think that the various leagues got it about right. But I thought that the end to that hockey game in Philadelphia last night, where the fans insisted on watching the President's speech, and the game ended in a voluntary tie right after that---was perhaps the finest moment I can recall at a sporting event in my lifetime. To me that moment was a hundred times more moving than Cal's # 2131. The collective wisdom shown by those fans was off the charts.

As to the larger question of how "important" or "unimportant" sports are to a society, isn't that something for each person to decide for himself? I have many friends who literally have no idea who Babe Ruth was or who Shaquille O' Neal is, and most of them seem to function quite well. And then there are those of us who sometimes spend an hour or two a week on this site, scream ourselves hoarse at a ball game or in front of the television set while watching an event we know has no lasting social significance, and yet many or most of us get up to go to work every day, are happily married, and in general are fairly well balanced. This is known as live and let live, chacon a son gout, and whatever the Mexicans, the Moroccans, or the Moldavians want to call it. If you really think that the world would be better off without Alan Iverson, or you think that Roger Clemens or Manny Ramirez is a "hero," well, will that be with or without cream?
   9. Robert Dudek Posted: September 22, 2001 at 09:41 AM (#72746)
What I dislike is the sentiment expressed by some that baseball or sport is "a diversion", "just entertainment", or "useless diversion" or "that it doesn't matter".

Some of the same sentiments were heard when an earthquake interrupted the 1989 World Series. Many sportswriters called for the cancellation of the World Series out of respect for the dead.

If you think sports is any of these things then nobody makes you go to a ballgame or watch it on TV. The fact that so many of us spend so much time and money on this "useless" endeavor has to say something.

Sport has great symbolic meaning. And symbolic meaning can be very significant. Ask yourself why the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center - it was to inflict a symbolic wounding as well as a material one.

In general I agree with David's comments that sport is very important in our culture and in other cultures. It is hypocritical for writers who make their living reporting on sports, or who spend a lot of their free time following sports, to then turn around and disparage it.

Respect for the victims of a tragedy is good and right. But how is respect paid by demeaning that which has a relatively important place in our lives ?

I don't want to address the question of what a "hero" is in detail. Words can have many meanings. In general the word refers to someone who one greatly admires and uses as a model. If a ballplayer falls into that category, I see nothing wrong with that.
   10. David Jones Posted: September 22, 2001 at 03:36 PM (#72747)

I was saying that when I was eight years old, Eddie Murray was one of my heroes. So was my father, and other public figures who were not in the athlete's sphere. I didn't want to know what Eddie Murray thought about "the issues of the day"--I was eight years old, I just wanted to watch him play baseball. And among other things, I remember thinking that it would be great if I could grow up and do the things Murray did.

What you speak of with Reggie White is the very problem I am talking about. Why are we asking Reggie about his opinions on the day? Well, he is a preacher, so I guess he has some "moral authority" to a small group of people...but I see your point. I don't think we should burden our athletes by expecting them to be anything more than what they are.

Do you think that people treat athletes like they are Mother Theresa? I don't think so--I haven't seen it. The flap over Earnhardt is really no different than T-shirts you might see of Tupac Shakur, or Jimi Hendrix or any other entertainer who died young. It's a cheap cottage industry, it's impermanent. But I think that people who admired Dale Earnhardt (for whatever reason) should be allowed to be sorry when the man dies. I certainly don't see anything wrong with that. They identified with him long before he died, and it had little to do with any conception of him as being like Mother Theresa. It had to do with admiration for his skill, and his character as it was evidenced through the games he played.

The problem I'm seeing here is that you seem to be saying that if we view Eddie Murray as a hero, then we aren't viewing firefighters as heroes. Or if we view Dale Earnhardt as a hero, then we aren't viewing war veterans as heroes. I don't think that's the case at all. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And if our cult of athlete hero-worship in this country was a problem, then wouldn't it prevent us from understanding that firefighters and police officers are heroes? Ah, but as we have seen from recent events, people all around this country, including the rabid sports fan, understand all too well that firefighters and police officers are indeed, brave and courageous heroes.
   11. Kurt Posted: September 22, 2001 at 06:51 PM (#72748)
Being underqualified to speak to the "issues of the day" doesn't preclude someone from being a hero. The rescue workers in NY and DC aren't considered heroes because of their eloquence in public speaking, or enlightened views on issues.

I'm with David on this one. Different people are heroes in different ways
   12. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 22, 2001 at 09:55 PM (#72749)
David, perhaps what you mean is that when you were eight years old, you didn't understand the definition of hero, and so you incorrectly thought that Eddie Murray was one? As someone else noted above, when you apply a word broadly, you simply cheapen the word. (Look at the word "superstar," invented because too many people were being called "stars.") I'm sure you admired Murray, or your father, and maybe wanted to be them. That doesn't make them heroic.

(On the other hand, at least Eddie Murray did *something* to earn his label. What's more pathetic than labelling athletes as heros is labelling celebrities as such. And by "celebrity," I mean someone who's famous not for an accomplishment, but simply for the act of being famous. Look at the melodrama over the death of Princess Diana, who was famous solely for the act of marrying someone whose ancestors did something to become royalty.)

I don't mean to denigrate sports. Sports are important. But athletes are not role models, and they're not heroes, and if kids think so, then kids are wrong, and it's the duty of parents to teach that to their kids, not to come up with pop-moral relativistic pyschobabble about how "People are heroes in different ways." (What's even worse is when it falls under the category of political pandering, like "So-and-so is a real hero because she's a single mother who goes to work every day at 5 am to feed her kids." Well, no, that's not heroic either. That's normal, everyday, adulthood. It's hardly above-and-beyond the call of duty to support your family.)
   13. Kurt Posted: September 23, 2001 at 03:32 AM (#72752)
Mother Teresa is a hero. The rescue workers, particularly those rescuing people on 9/11, are heroes. Jackie Robinson was a hero. Mother Teresa, the rescue workers and Jackie Robinson have precisely zero in common.

Therefore, people can be heroes in different ways. Or is a hero defined as a person who performs a very specific act? And if so, what is that act?
   14. Robert Dudek Posted: September 23, 2001 at 08:06 PM (#72754)
Stepping in to face pitchers throwing the ball upwards of 100 MPH could certainly be considered a feat of courage.
   15. Robert Dudek Posted: September 23, 2001 at 09:09 PM (#72756)
Only slightly...

I just wanted to point out that very broad (one might say nebulous) dictionary definitions can not and should not legislate how people use a word.

Try playing the following game:

Take any meaning-carrying word from a definition, in this case "courage" or "nobility" and look that word up. Then choose a word from that dictionary and repeat.

You can keep yourself entertained for a long time.
   16. Kurt Posted: September 23, 2001 at 09:26 PM (#72758)
JoelShoe, I agree with you. Obviously I think they all meet the definition of hero, since I called all of them heroes.

My point is that they became heroes through vastly divergent methods, and David N.'s statement regarding "pop-moral relativistic pyschobabble about how 'People are heroes in different ways.'" is obvious and utter nonsense.
   17. Robert Dudek Posted: September 23, 2001 at 09:50 PM (#72759)
Joel Shoe...

Of course you are free to do so. You are also free to think that the moon is made of green cheese.

There is no authoritative body that even attempts to legislate how words should be used in the English language (though for some languages they exist to "protect" them from "corruption"). Dictionaries merely describe how words have been used up until now.

If a number of people use the word "hero" to describe a certain group of people then that becomes a de facto definition (i.e. one possible meaning) of that word. Courage and nobility come in many different forms and anyone who says that Eddie Murray did not possess courage or nobility is asserting something they can't possibly know.

You claim that the word "hero" has lost all its meaning today. You claim that it is applied to anyone who amuses or entertains. Well, a clown amuses - but not too many people call clowns heroes.
   18. Big Ed Posted: September 24, 2001 at 12:41 AM (#72761)
Thanks Mr Harding. Yo invent a word because you are too stupid too look up normality in your dictionary, and here it is eighty years later and it's common usage. WTG.
   19. David Jones Posted: September 24, 2001 at 02:20 PM (#72764)
To return to a couple of posts that were made here:

I think it clearly DOES require courage to face a 100 mph fastball--maybe not the sort of courage that sends a man into a burning building, but courage all the same. A batter facing such a pitcher has to NOT think about the fact that a fastball to his head could blind him, or permanently injure him, or kill him. That requires determination and courage.

I really do not think I was wrong to view Eddie Murray as a hero when I was a child. The suggestion was made that at that time---I didn't know what the definition of the word was. But no, that's not right. A concept like 'hero' is self-relevatory, the language used to define it is quite broad and open to a multitude of interpretations. If David Jones at the age of eight years old views Eddie Murray as a hero, then Eddie Murray has become a hero. I never used the word "role model" by the way--a loaded term--I used the word hero. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks or doesn't think that Murray is a hero, each person, whether he or she be eight years old or forty years old, will have their own heroes that appeal to that person.
   20. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 25, 2001 at 07:50 AM (#72765)
By that logic, David, it takes courage to step out of the house, or to get into an automobile. You're a lot more likely to be hurt if you're driving than you are if you're batting. That's not courage. That's simply not cowering in a closet. When you misuse a word like that, you're not honoring the person to whom you're applying it; you're simply cheapening the word. It's like putting Alfredo Griffin in the Hall of Fame. It doesn't honor him; it simply denigrates everyone in the Hall. Charging into a burning building to save others is courageous. Standing at the plate is not.

As for Eddie Murray, if you thought he was a turnip when you were eight, would that make him one? He was a good athlete. He didn't do anything heroic. You just admired him. That didn't convert ordinary existence into heroism.

On the other side of this, Mark Smith pulled a man from a burning car last year. That's heroism.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2001 at 01:25 PM (#72767)
David and David...

Would it be fair to say that:

1. For an eight year old boy to think of Eddie Murray as a hero is perfectly understandable; yet

2. For an adult on ESPN to refer to him as such (unless he did something off the field to justify it, like that umpire in the parking lot a few years back) is a bit silly. This type of definition-stretching seems to occur more frequently in tranquil times, doesn't it? In moments like this its inherent absurdity is somewhat clearer.

So I would tend to agree with David N., but as long as David J. isn't trying to enforce his definition on the rest of us (and I don't really think he is), it's entirely his business who his heroes are. We shouldn't lose any sleep over it.
   22. The Original Gary Posted: September 26, 2001 at 12:29 AM (#72768)
"Hero" is a lot of different things. A "hero" is someone who disregards his/her own situation and safety for that of others, like firefighters or policemen or even a regular person who pulls over on a highway to help someone change a flat tire. A "hero" is anyone who inspires someone to be a better person, perhaps a teacher, a parent, and if you are lucky, a spouse.

"Hero" is a relative term. Are the passengers who took the terrorists down in Pennsylvania more "heroes"? To me, without question, yes. Is my Dad a "hero"? To me, again, without question, yes.

Sadly, somewhere in Afghanistan, the people who hijacked those planes are "heroes". "Hero" is relative to who each of us are.
   23. David Jones Posted: September 26, 2001 at 05:28 AM (#72769)
...And I should say that my original statement that "I think it is wonderful that a person who can hit a ball over a fence is a hero, as opposed to other cultures where people who fly planes into buildings are heroes" was a reference to children, and their heroes. I'll take Tony Gwynn over Mohammed Atta any day of the week, in other words, for children.

What prompted my original posting here was all the cliche-ridden drivel about "putting sports in their place" and so forth. As if the rest of the time, all we are doing when we watch baseball is picking our nose and burping. I guess I prefer not to be as nihilistic about our day-to-day passions as to believe that all that time spent was wasted because one day a plane would fly into a building. The fact of the matter is, sports today are no more or less important than they ever were--if you think they are now less important--then I suspect that you have deluded yourself for a long time into believing sports occupied a sphere of public importance outside of the cultural, and into the political and the historic--which is not what sports are about. It would be like saying that the WTC disaster put the art of dancing in its place.

Finally, to get back to David N.'s comments on the courage of being in the batter's box--that courage is required has NOTHING to do with statistics of injuries or so forth. It has to do with the confrontational nature of the situation, the batter has a stick, the pitcher has a ball with the attempt to belittle, embarrass and defeat the batter. The batter has no help to face his adversary, he must make use of his own skill and cleverness, even while he is vulnerable to the pitcher's whims. That requires a kind of courage. I guess you think that courage is not an everyday thing in life, but is relegated to burning buildings and the like. I think it is something that is present everyday, and that can manifest itself in small moments like the pitcher/batter confrontation.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 26, 2001 at 10:51 AM (#72770)
Feeling argumentative, I continue....

Gary, you write: "Is my Dad a "hero"? To me, again, without question, yes." Let me try it this way: What did your Dad _do_ that was heroic?

David J., I agree with you on the "putting sports in their place" line. It's a feeble attempt to be profound. Although, all _I_ do when I watch baseball is pick my nose and burp.

But as for your concluding remarks, well, if that's "a kind of courage," then Rey Ordonez is "a kind of Hall of Famer." Hell, some of the people in my office can be kind of sarcastic -- I guess me getting out of bed in the morning and showing up for work is courageous. After all, they might make a biting comment about my tie clashing with my shirt. That could be emotionally crippling.

Of course courage isn't an everyday thing in life. If it were, then it wouldn't be anything deserving of discussion. Being courageous wouldn't be praiseworthy if it was an everyday thing. If risking your life running into a building and playing baseball are both courageous, then the word ceases to have any useful meaning.

And I'll say the same thing about Gary's use of "hero." Helping someone change a flat tire is nice. It's not heroic. It's just the decent thing to do. When you lump trivialities with real acts of selfless self-sacrifice, it doesn't make the trivialities more exalted.
   25. David Jones Posted: September 26, 2001 at 04:38 PM (#72771)
"Of course courage isn't an everyday thing in life. If it were, then it wouldn't be anything deserving of discussion."

Love is an everyday thing in is hate, anger, joy, sarcasm, etc. Does this mean we don't discuss them?
   26. Kurt Posted: September 26, 2001 at 05:46 PM (#72773)
"As for Eddie Murray, if you thought he was a turnip when you were eight, would that make him one? He was a good athlete. He didn't do anything heroic. You just admired him. That didn't convert ordinary existence into heroism."

Eddie Murray is not a turnip because he fails to exhibit the defining features of a turnip. As others have noted, he meets the definition of a hero. Incidentally, the dictionary I have, Webster's Collegiate 10th Ed., lists one definition of "hero" as "a man *admired* for his achievements and noble qualities." (asterisked emphasis mine)
   27. Kurt Posted: September 26, 2001 at 05:47 PM (#72774)
Hey, how do you guys put others' quotes in italics anyway?
   28. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 26, 2001 at 10:57 PM (#72781)
Kurt, while I hate resorting to dictionaries, because so many of them just throw every usage of the word, standard and nonstandard, into the entry, in this case I think the definition you quoted is fine.

Where I would dissent is in where you place the emphasis. A hero is "a man admired *for* his achievements *and* noble qualities." (asterisked emphasis mine) It's not enough to be admired. You have to be admired *for* something. And is playing baseball well that something? No; it's achievements _AND_ NOBLE QUALITIES. I'm sure Eddie Murray is a nice guy -- though lots of sportswriters didn't think so -- but I don't see anything particularly noble about him. (Or ignoble; I'm not putting him down here.)
   29. Kurt Posted: September 27, 2001 at 02:53 PM (#72784)
David N,

All I would say is that "noble qualities" are in the eye of the beholder. I'm really not interested in a discussion of what constitutes a "noble quality", I think we've reached a point where we simply disagree. I'm sure we'll all find a way to go on living.
   30. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 27, 2001 at 07:42 PM (#72785)
Gary, so by that definition, everyone who isn't on welfare is a hero. And, as I said above, you've just put Alfredo Griffin in the Hall of Fame.

Different levels of heroism? I held the door open for someone yesterday. I must be a hero. Okay, maybe it's not on the level of saving lives, but I'm a hero. And the other day, I took in the neighbor's newspaper when he was on vacation.

I don't understand why people are trying to turn the mundane into something special. Itg doesn't work. Changing a tire is nice. It's not heroic. All you're doing is insulting the firefighters. You're telling them they're really no different, in risking their lives to save others, from someone who risks an hour of his time to change a tire -- or someone who simply goes to work. (And if they _are_ different, then why are you determined to apply the same word to both of them?)

Kurt, you're right; we're obviously never going to agree. But the "eye of the beholder" line is just a copout. It's a way of avoiding having to defend your beliefs.
   31. The Original Gary Posted: September 27, 2001 at 11:09 PM (#72782)
To David N,

Did you see where I wrote that "hero" is a relative term? That means there are different levels of heroism. Changing a flat does not compare with some of the acts seen in NYC, but go ask the lady with 3 kids under 5 in her car that is stuck on a highway with a flat tire and no knowledge on how to fix it if the person who was kind enough to help her is a hero. To her, that person is. To you or me, maybe not. My Dad on the other hand falls into the category of inspiration. Inspiring to my brother and I, but not to you. My Dad is a hero TO ME. Maybe your Dad is a hero to you, maybe not. I am not under the belief you have to risk your life to be a "hero". If you are, that's fine. So, to answer you about what has my Dad done that is heroic, all I can say is that he sacrificed of himself and worked extra hard to make a better life for his family. Does that make him a hero? To me, it does. Is that sappy, maybe. But I don't really care if it is.
   32. Robert Dudek Posted: September 28, 2001 at 12:52 AM (#72786)
David N.

Where does it say that you have to put every hero into the Hall of Fame ?

Besides which...

Alfredo Griffin did not achieve anything special in baseball; Eddie Murray did. In terms of baseball achievement, Murray belomgs with the all-time greats and Griffin belongs in the replacement pool.

So the first part of Kurt's definition is satisfied by Murray, but not by Griffin.

No one in his right mind would say that Murray's accomplishments in baseball are ordinary.

As for being noble, many baseball fans would regard exemplary performance over a long period of time on the baseball field to be noble. If you do not then that's fine for you. But if someone wants to say that these achievements are in some sense noble, how can you say they are definitely wrong (you haven't offered a definition of noble)?

In any case someone will come along with a definition of a hero as being someone admired for his achievemnets OR noble qualities, and then what will you say.

Let's face it - your attempt to pontificate about the meaning of words is doomed to failure. Let people use words as they wish and if you disagree with their usage just say : "Well, Murray doesn't meet my definition of a hero" and leave it at that.

Remember: out of all the millions of people who've every played baseball, out of the tens of thousands that have signed professional contracts, Murray is one of the 200 very best. That can't be ordinary.
   33. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 29, 2001 at 09:40 PM (#72787)
   34. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2001 at 11:25 PM (#72788)
May I try just one more feeble attempt at a middle ground?

"Hero:" See Webster's, or the O.E.D.

"Sports Hero:" One who performs extraordinary feats of athletic endeavor, especially at the most opportune moments, or in times of "crisis" (Christy Mathewson). Not to be confused with "hero" in the ordinary sense of the word (since the risks are on a lower level), but not to be dismissed either. May sometimes be shortened to "hero" for purposes of ordinary conversation and/ or convenience, so long as all parties realize that the two definitions are distinct, and not to be interchangably used in more formal settings, or in writing by people who know better. Examples: A Purple Heart winner is a "hero." All 20th century U.S. Presidents were or are "political heroes" to their followers. Dwight Eisenhower and George Bush the Elder were also "heroes" in the ordinary sense, perhaps even more so by their very efforts to brush aside such compliments. Martin Luther King Jr., who risked his life on many occasions for a noble cause, was a "hero," as was current U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. Ted Williams was both a "sports hero" and a "hero." Mark McGwire is a "sports hero," though he may be considered a "hero" by children and perhaps by adults who have not witnessed true acts of "heroism."

"Private Hero:" Anyone who consistently sacrifices his or her pleasures, careers, or other things which would be meaningful to them, for the cause of their families, or in the cause of aiding those in less of a position to fight for themselves. May sometimes approach status of "hero" in certain circumstances, and the line between the two is not always wholly clear.

"False hero:" See "charlatan." May sometimes assume the trappings of the first and third definitions by opportunistic actions and clever manipulation of words and images. Examples: Countless examples from every walk of life. Usually gives himself away by complete absence of any generosity of spirit, or by simply ducking out when the going gets tough. Not to be trusted, and seldom is.

Just call me Long Winded Willie. Sorry.

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