When your heroes die

I remember watching Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run. I was at plenty of Dodger games with Don Sutton on the mound and Tommy Lasorda in the dugout.

If you live long enough, you will watch your childhood heroes die. The stars of your youth will succumb to the inevitability of age and mortality. You may have forgotten about them for years, but when you learn about their demise, images of them in their youth and vitality will flood back to you.

What was it that made them special? Was it just their achievements? No, there was more to them. Perhaps it was their passion. The dedication they put into their craft. Their determination to succeed. Perhaps it was their leadership. When they stepped to the plate or on the mound, they took charge. You can trust that they will make the best of any situation. They inspired those around them. They seemed larger than life because they weren’t satisfied to do only what’s expected. They seized every opportunity to push themselves and excel.

And they force us to think about ourselves. When we meet our inevitable demise, what will people say about us? What kind of legacy will we leave behind?

You don’t have to be a superstar athlete to make a difference. Each one of us can excel in whatever field we choose to work in. You have the ability to solve problems, fill needs in a community, or make someone’s life better. You can write the book that inspires a reader, make the meal that satisfies their appetite and raises their spirit, or fix the network connections that enables an office to get back to work. You can be someone’s hero.

If you live long enough, you will watch your childhood heroes die. And someday, someone else will live long enough to watch you die. Strive to be remembered as their hero.