Introduction: My Hero
The University of Notre Dame Golden Dome
A Hero: What Does it Mean?
According to Google a hero is, "a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities." But does a hero have to be a man, have to be outstanding, or have to be qualified? No, a hero can be someone –anyone– who does things for the betterment of everyone, that changes who you are. A hero is a person you can look up to or admire for their brilliant qualities or outstanding achievements, or a person who has done courageous acts in hope for the benefit of others, changing us into or keeping us as good people.
A hero is a soldier who jumps on a grenade to save hundreds of lives. Imagine an army base, hundreds of military men snoring away after a hard day's work. Then an enemy throws a grenade, and one of the brave-hearted soldier jumps on the grenade knowing it's going to maim or kill him, but will save hundreds of his friends. Consider the soldier's life. Family, friends, and relatives are all desperately waiting for the soldier to come back home, alive and intact. How incredibly brave and heroic would someone have to sacrifice himself? A soldier that does this must have the heart of a lion, fighting to save his 'family'. To jump on a grenade is an act of pure courage. The impact for the soldier is terrible, but a soldier doing this does this knowing that he will save the lives and bring happiness to hundreds of other soldiers and all their friends and families.
A hero is an athlete with incredible grit and perseverance that is a role model to others. Joe is a high school boy, who's a big fan of sports. His best sport is cross country, but he likes hockey and his favorite team is the Chicago Blackhawks. A few years back, he went to a Blackhawks game and saw his favorite player, Jonathan Toews. During overtime, Toews had been on the ice for almost two minutes, battling in the corners trying to get the puck out of the defensive zone. He was completely exhausted, his muscles aching in pain. Finally, the puck got out of the zone and Toews had an easy chance to get off the ice, but he also had a clear break to the puck. Instead of doing what any average person would do, get off the ice, Toews gutted it out, won the race to the puck and scored the game-winning goal. Joe now thinks about that moment every race of his, during the homestretch. He's always extremely tired, but remember's how Toews gutted through his pain and exhaustion. Joe is now the captain on his high school cross country team and has lead them to two state championships. Joe has many people he looks up to including runners like Usain Bolt, but his biggest hero is still and will always be Jonathan Toews. The effort, grit, and passion Joe witnessed from Toews during that game and the effect it has had on him certainly defines and classifies what being a hero really is.
As it can be seen, both a soldier who jumps on a grenade and an athlete role model illustrate a true hero. Anyone who changes us into or keeps us as fine people are to be considered a hero. While many say few can be heroes, really being a hero is something anyone is capable of doing. Whether it’s putting your life on the line or simply setting yourself as a role model. Give a little thought about your life. Have you ever risked something in value to yourself for the better of someone else? Have you ever been an example for someone else? At the end of the day, a hero is a vast topic that can mean a variety of different things, depending on who you are and what you've experienced.
Eli Manning: A True Hero
A hero is a person you look up to and admire for their brilliant abilities, their outstanding achievements, and perhaps most importantly their charitable acts on behalf of those less fortunate, that set a great example for those that look up to them. One person that meets this definition is NFL quarterback Eli Manning. Coming out of college, Manning was drafted first overall in the NFL draft. He has since won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, and was named Most Valuable Player both times. Eli also devotes countless hours to working with charities, raising money for those in need. In short, Manning’s abilities, achievements, and works off the field make him a hero that I strive to be like.
Eli Manning sets a great example for both children and adults with his excellence on the gridiron. According to Newsmakers, "By the time his career at Ole Miss ended, he held fifty-four team records." Setting an individual football record at a big time college like Mississippi University is quite an accomplishment; setting multiple records is something only a small amount of players achieve; but setting fifty-four records is a feat only world class players like Eli Manning can ever obtain. The Newsmakers article also listed some of Eli's accomplishments: "Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, 2003; Maxwell Award, Maxwell Football Club, 2003; Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, 2008, 2012." The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is given to the most outstanding senior college quarterback. The Maxwell Award is given to the best player in college football, nominated by a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, NCAA head coaches and the membership of the Maxwell Football Club. A Super Bowl MVP is arguably the pinnacle of sports awards, and Manning has won two of them. This is only a sneak peak into Eli's trophy room, but quite remarkable nonetheless. Only a select few can say they have more and better football achievements than Eli Manning.
Another hero of mine is my mother. She too fits my definition of a hero, similar to Eli Manning in the sense that they both sacrifice their time to help others. According to Newsmakers, "In 2009, he [Eli] led a campaign to fund technology in schools and helped raise more than $1 million." In addition to working out, practicing football, and studying film, Eli used his valuable time to make sure that these hundreds of kids and teenagers could access resources that would help them succeed. In like manner, my mother spends up three hours a day, driving her children to sports, helping them in school, and making dinner for them, all on top of the important time spent at the office, making money to support her family. If you take out the fact that Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl champion, a man who makes millions of dollars, and that he raises far more money than my mother, Eli and Kathy Kempf share something in common that not all people can say. They are heroes through their selfless acts for the betterment of others.
When I look at Eli Manning, I don't just look at him, amazed by his outstanding passes, his incredible achievements, or his one of a kind generosity. I try to take what I've learned and incorporate it into my own life. Next time I play football, I'll remember his graceful mechanics and his beautiful passes; next time someone needs help, I won't hesitate; and in general, when facing a problem where I'm not sure what to do, all I will do is ask myself one simple question, "what would Eli Manning do?"