A small social media frenzy over the past twenty four hours about a certain band’s new album listening party and subsequent announcement of the album’s title triggered thoughts of heroes.
Does everyone have a hero or heroes?
Is there a difference between a hero and an idol?
What does it take to be your hero?
As is my usual want, my research began with the tattered family dictionary.
Hero – a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
Idol – a person who is a greatly admired or revered.
My next approach was to ask some friends and family members who their heroes are and why. This threw up some interesting answers and cast doubt on the 21st Century hero being male.
Two friends, who shall remain nameless, said it was their grandmother, mother and sister. Their reasoning was also pretty similar – strong, independent women overcoming the challenges life’s flung in their paths and who live/lived life to the full. Hearing friends describe these “Wonder Women” was heart-warming to say the least.
Only one friend said their hero was their dad but qualified their answer in that, as they grew up, they realised he was “just a man.” This was a response that resonated with me but I’ll come back to that shortly.
One person named three high flying, high profile business men as their heroes. The likes of Richard Branson to name but one. The reason for choosing these three gentlemen in particular was because their success has brought employment to thousands of people. Admirable qualities without a doubt.
One of the folk I asked said their children were now their “little heroes” as they had “all won the race for life.” (Think I know what you mean, Four!) I hadn’t thought of my own kids in that vein but I can see where the train of thought has come from. With the current state of the world we live in, all of today’s children are tomorrow’s heroes!
One friend said her husband was her hero. That one made me smile.
Another friend claimed to be too cynical to have any heroes. Such cynicism from one so young!
So, how would I answer my own question?
Like the friend I mentioned earlier, who said their first hero was their dad, I’d have to agree. Several friends may just have fainted from shock at that comment! Up until a month ago, I’d have disputed it.
I recently found myself watching an audio visual presentation at the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club’s 150th Birthday Party and my emotional reaction took me by complete surprise. I was a mess!
My dad was a successful amateur oarsman in his day and seeing photos of him in his hey day along with the various crews brought back vivid childhood memories.
Many a late Saturday afternoon was spent sitting on the front wall waiting to see if he’d come home from whatever regatta it was with more silver ware. I remember him and his friends attempting to set the world record for rowing the length of Loch Ness in 1976. I remember waving him and his friends off on his epic 180 mile long row. In many ways these are bittersweet memories. Like my friend, as I grew up, I too realised that while he’s still my Dad he’s “just a man.” (He did take me to my first gig – Status Quo at the SECC Glasgow in 1986)
I swithered having read the dictionary definitions of hero and idol as to whether I’ve been answering this question incorrectly for years.
After some deliberation I’ve concluded that my answer is accurate. Despite my love of music, my hero is a sporting legend. He ticks all the boxes in the dictionary definition. Sadly he passed away in 2003 at the age of 52. He was greatly admired for his courage on many levels, especially the courage with which he returned to his sport after an horrendous accident in 1982. He left his sport in a far safer state than he joined it, having campaigned tirelessly for years for safety improvements and even, on occasion, improved toilet facilities! He was a household name, a “cheeky chappy” with an astute business mind. A family man at heart.
So who is it?
My all-time hero is the late great Barry Sheene, former world champion motorcyclist.
I could wax lyrical all day but I won’t. If you want to learn more about him then this link is a fair place to start https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Sheene
Yes, I have my musical idols, past and present, and countless other people whom I greatly admire for their various attributes, including some of the friends I quizzed earlier today, but my answer to the question remains the same as it has done for over thirty- five years. Barry Sheene.
So who is your hero and why?
(images sourced via Google- credits to the owners)