1058BC_Hero

Test
Test

1058BC_Hero

So I've never really had a hero.  Never met anyone I wanted to emulate; never heard a story that changed my life, or made me want to be a better person.  However, the fact that I refuse to define a singular person as a hero in my life doesn't mean that I can't recognize qualities in others worthy of admiration.  Growing up, I was taught by my parents to love baseball.  I could recite the entire lineup, names, positions, and jersey numbers, of my hometown team, before I could even legibly write out my own name, and I was shagging fly balls before my first day of elementary school.  Looking back, I can't imagine such a devotion without the presence of one particular player, whose greatest was felt all over the city, way outside of the walls of the stadium.  Cal Ripken, Jr. was an inspiration to so many of us kids growing up, and this was only due, in part, to his skills on the field; he was an above average hitter, and one of the first great fielding shortstops the game had seen, but these are things that only die-hard fans of the team really remember.  No, Cal is admired to this day for two much more difficult achievements: his day-in, day-out dedication to the team (2632 consecutive games without a day off), and his charity work for the kids in Baltimore.  He was born in Maryland and grew up to play for his hometown team, the same one for which his father played and coached to his own stardom, and the same team his brother Billy would also join.  His public relationship with and love for his family is something that is rarely seen from celebrities today.  The athletic complex he funded in his home town of Aberdeen is an impressive monument to youth sports, and is a place where young kids can envision as well as play out their own dreams of becoming pro ballplayers; as the first step towards success is actually having a dream to begin with, Cal is ensuring that these kids have a chance to at least hope for a brighter future.  When so many professional athletes today continue to disappoint today's young fans, with arrests, steriod allegations, and indecent public conduct, it is comforting to look back at men like Cal and remember that the world of professional sports can still have something substantial to offer.  There's a reason Cal broke another record in 2007, when 75,000 people (including myself) crowded into the tiny suburban town of Cooperstown, NY (pop. of around 2,000 on a normal day) in the oppressive late July heat, just to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame; few men have ever been granted such an overwhelming honor, and even less have really deserved it.      

Place Stamp Here