Bottom of the 9th - What Really Makes a Hero?
What Really Makes a Hero?
by Tom Walters
My friend Ian has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Several years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to take Ian as a guest to see Curt Schilling receive the Branch Rickey Award in Denver. I was really jacked to be able to take Ian and meet Mr. Schilling, his performance had been fantastic that post season and he had been named World Series MVP. Schilling had a teammate taken by Lou Gehrig's disease which inspired him to make a commitment to help the battle against this awful disease. That night at a fancy dinner in a fancy Denver hotel, Schilling was recognized for his humanitarian efforts against ALS. In his acceptance speech, Schilling spoke of his hero â€“ his father. In a very moving and convincing way, Schilling told of his dad's dependability, hard work, and kindness. In closing, Schilling rocked us all by saying that his life's hero would be more proud of him for being chosen for the Branch Rickey Award and recognized for his good deed than for having been named World Series MVP.
It is interesting to me that many media and sports figures are idolized in our society. Apparently, it is interesting to the sports figures themselves! Charles Barkley said several years ago, "I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean that I should raise your kids.â€ Akin to that, when I was a child, I did not see the importance of the heroic job my parents did. However, the day my son Levi was born, my dad became a genius!
Nine years into Leviâ€™s life, my Dad was diagnosed with lymphoma. For the next three years, before meeting Jesus face to face, Dad met weekly with our parish priest, and dear friend, Father Dick Schlosser. Dad called it "studying for finals". In the eulogy that Father Dick gave at my Dad's service, he said that Dad's achievements lay not so much in what he personally accomplished, as in what he enabled others to accomplish. Dad gave constant encouragement to his family and others to excel when he did not have the opportunities to do so himself. Our priest, Father Dick, spoke of my fatherâ€™s sacrifices, made so his wife and sons could achieve their dreams. During his life, Dad gave over thirteen gallons of blood to the Red Cross to restore people to health. Dad's commitment to enabling others to achieve is reflected in his final wishes for any memorials people would like to give in his name. Instead of money, he asked us to donate our own blood for the sake of others. His other suggestion was to donate to the church scholarship fund so a family who might not otherwise be able to attend our parish school would be able to do so. Father Dick, speaking of my father as his brother, proclaimed that this was Dad's life: being a foundation â€“ a platform for others to achieve. Father Dick said, "In many ways Ed (Dad) reminds me of these words of Jesus":
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13
My encounter with Curt Schilling and his revelation of his father, helped me see the heroism in my dad. It is the ultimate heroic act to submit all our plans, desires, and motives to God. To be truly heroic, we must go into battle each day in our home, at school, in our jobs, at church, and in society to make God's Kingdom a reality! Our weapons are the standards, morals, truths, and convictions we receive from God's Word. We will lose the battle if we gather the spoils of earthly treasures rather than seek the treasures of heaven.
To the young men who play baseball at Valor Christian High School, the diamond is your battlefield. Play to His glory! Be a foundation, Eagles. Play humbly, play for each other, lay down your chance to be a hero to help your team do great things, because that is what really makes a hero.
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