The Term “Hero” was redefined this weekend in Newtown.
A TRIBUTE TO TRUE HEROISM
We never really had to redefine the word hero, we just needed to put it back in perspective. Now we know. Tragically. Just ask Victor Cruz. The New York Giants wide reciever knows grown men don’t become heroes by playing kids games. Heroes don’t catch touchdown passes or hit home runs, heroes live everyday lives, quietly, with dignity, without fanfare. Their true heroic nature is camoflaged in the day to day personality of the first responder who lives next door, whom you’ve never seen at work. True heroes embrace our most sacred trust, the lives of our children, and respect the gravity of that trust, to teach our children well and guard their innocence. True heroes are the teachers who put up with those endless drills, fire drills, lock down drills, instructing their students as they are instructed themselves, hoping they will never be called on to respond in a real situation while learning to respond at the moment most needed. Now we know. Tragically. True heroes respond to the greatest challenges life can confront them with. Victor Cruz knows the true meaning of heroism this morning and he knows that he does not fit that definition when he catches a touchdown pass for the Giants. Victor Cruz wore a special pair of cleats into yesterday’s game in Atlanta. On one shoe was written the name of a young, innocent victim of Friday’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. “Jack Pinto, my hero”, said the words on the shoe, Cruz having learned the day before that Jack was a big Giants fan and he was Jack’s favorite player. “R-I-P Jack Pinto” was written on the other shoe. Victor will visit Jack’s parents this week and present them with the cleats he wore in yesterday’s game. Whether they were worn in a win or a loss will never matter to anyone. We learned so much over the weekend about the importance of winning and losing. True heroes don’t hit home runs or sink game winning three pointers at the buzzer, true heroes go to work every day and do the job they were trained to do, even when that job means putting oneself in harms way. The true hero is the principal who intentionally becomes a barrier between danger and the young lives with whom she has been trusted. The true hero is the teacher who has been trained to put a premium on the lives of the most precious generation and, when the time comes, bravely cashes in that premium. The true hero is the parent who, in the face of unspeakable grief, comforts a child who needs it more than at any other time and finds the strength to return some normalcy to that child’s life. Victor Cruz knows what a true hero is and he knows it is not him. He, along with all the rest of us who live too much of our lives in the sports world and have cheapened the word, sometimes beyond recognition, learned over the weekend who true heroes are. True heroism just happens when we embrace the responsibility of living our every day lives. True heroism was redefined on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. I’m Scott Gray.