What is a hero?

We use the words hero and great in sports to the point where they become cliche and lose their meaning and impact.

CARTER: Lived a life of inspiration.

Gary Carter was a baseball player, who made a good living playing a game most of us played as kids and only dreamed of having the fraction of talent he possessed. We cannot use the word “hero,” in describing Carter and any other athlete when compared to a soldier who saves his comrades in a firefight, or a policeman who risks his life in protecting a person from peril, or an act of unselfish bravery by a nondescript man who runs into a burning building to save a child or stands up to a thug in a subway while coming to the aid of a stranger.

Or a parent who goes through the daily grind to set an example of morality to his child.

Carter would be the first to say he’s not a hero or great when compared to those examples.

In reading over the past 24 hours of testimonials from teammates, opponents and fans who never met him we get a glimpse into the player and man who meant so much to so many. He came to many of us as an athlete, but captivated our imaginations and captures our respect with the intensity he played the game and the dignity and integrity in which he lived his life.

With his faith, his genuine goodness as a human being, and his compassion for others, he touched many in a way that went beyond his hitting and ability to handle a pitching staff.

With the way he lived his life, Carter molded the lives of an adoring family and inspired many he never met. The ultimate testament came from teammates who said they wish they led their lives as Carter did his.

In that way, he was truly heroic. It is said a man with friends is truly rich, and Carter was wealthy in which many of us can only dream.



4 thoughts on “What is a hero?

  1. A hero is someone you look up to and aspire to be like. In can be a ballplayer or an entertainer. Someone who inspires something in you is a hero.

    I do understand your meaning in that a game is a game. However games are important. Words are important even if they are not always actions.

    Society uses adjectives like great to just about everything so they lose their meaning. Every fashion model is a supermodel. Every decent ballplayer is great. It devalues the words and the meaning. When someone is truly great no one cares because they are lumped in with the ordinary.

    I don’t know if Gary was a great player. He was certainly good. Very good. And he played his position as well as anyone while being feared at the plate.