Tuesday, March 4, 2008

There Goes My Hero

By Taft Ayers

Yeah, I know the title of this post is the same as a very lame Foo Fighters tune. I don't seem to have a clear mind these days when the topic of "My Hero" comes up.

I'm a little jaded these days as we buried the body of my grandfather only last week. He was the closest thing in my life to a real hero. I know that it's just his physical body that we put in the ground and that his eternal reward ensures his life will never really expire. However, it really makes me think about my mortality, even at my age.

I hate getting old. I am not miserable. I am not unhappy. I just hate the fact that the men I have always called my "heroes" are dropping out of the picture.

I spent many years of my adolesence watching and marveling at the works of Michael Jordan. I did my best to impersonate him; to "be like Mike." Have you seen that guy lately? Two chins, a nasty mustache, mock turtle necks with sport coats, and commercials with Cuba Gooding Jr. Wow.

Oh yeah, he lost his wife because of his love for the ladies and he's gambled away more money than I can ever fathom making. Some Hero.

When I wasn't watching Mike wag his tongue on the court, I was tuned in to the "Hulkster." I was a Hulk-a-maniac.

Hulk Hogan was the most untouchable figure to ever enter into the squared circle. When his theme music played as he ran into the ring, I was in absolute awe. When he body-slammed Andrea the Giant, I stood and applauded. Now, he's a balding mess. I do not hate on those whose hair has vanished, but at least most men shave it. Hulk without a bandana is a travesty. He tans those saggin boobs and tries to catch his breath while still laboring around the "sport" of wrestling well into his sixties. Oh yeah, him and the Mrs. busted up because he can't keep his hands to himself. Some hero.

It happened again today, and I lost it. I got a message from a friend that said, "get on espn.com and brace yourself." The boy wonder from Mississippi decided to hang it up after 17 years in the NFL. Brett Favre said he was finished. I am trying to figure out why he would retire at 38. I mean, c'mon man, I will be working well into my fifties and so should you, number 4. I have cheered for you, played QuarterBack Club '98 on the Nintendo 64 with you (still undefeated) and now you are going to walk away? I thought they would have to eventually pry the football out of your cold dead hands...but no...you quit on your own?

I say all of these things to say that when my Heroes walk away, or fade away, it makes me realize that I am no small boy anymore. Maybe I'm supposed to be somebody's hero.

If you know anyone that I can latch on with and ride as my new hero....let me know...quickly!

We all need our heroes.

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