Skip to content

Ghosts of Heroes Present

July 11, 2009

For the past month, the untimely passing of Michael Jackson has dominated the press.  I won’t deny that he was a very talented artist, however the cult like worship of him and the fanfare surrounding his funeral is just hard for me to comprehend.  My role models are my father, veterans and heroes of American wars past and present, inventors and entrepreneurs, our founding fathers, selfless public servants, you get the idea.  Sure there are artists (musicians, actors and actresses) that I enjoy and athletes that I admire, but I see them as people, just like you and me, who happen to have a unique talent.  On the other hand, it’s those people who use their talents to change the world, protect our freedoms, and truly make a difference who are the true heroes worthy of fanatical worship ( I am not necessarily suggesting we should worship them, just that they are worthy!).   If we held public servants and teachers in higher regard, and publicly supported our soldiers as much as we do our favorite artists and athletes, this world would be a much better place.  The overzealous infatuation with the stars of the media is not an intellectually healthy pastime.   It is fine to be passionate about an artist or athlete (I know many who are big fans of Michael Jackson), however when this passion comes at the expense of engaging in healthy obsessions, then it becomes counterproductive to society.  It is healthy obsessions that have produced this country’s great innovations and companies, artists and athletes, and the reason many still go into public service with a passion to help others.  Yes, I included artists and athletes.  These are great vocational choices, and they do provide a service to society, but it’s obviously better to aspire to be one rather than excessively idolize one.

On the subject of star athletes, who have really become larger than life in recent years, there’s been plenty of press lately due to huge off season multimillion dollar contract signings.  Now, I believe in free market capitalism and I also understand the supply and demand economics of pro sports.  As long as people are willing to shell out big money to watch the games, and support their teams, then the sports leagues can justify the big salaries.  The fundamental anomaly I see however, is with the food chain, the circle of life for a pro athlete so to speak.  Our school districts across this nation are struggling to fund their budgets and in some cases canceling sports programs, and yet there is a seemingly continuous flow of millions into our pro sports teams.   If you think about it, school is basically the initial training ground for pro athletes (both intellectually and physically).  It seems a little ironic and self defeating that we would allow our schools to suffer, jeopardizing the very core of youth development, all while applauding the bigger and bigger contracts when we land that star player on our team.  Neglecting the very source of today’s treasured sports heroes presents somewhat of a paradox.  This would be like fishing a lake dry only to realize that there are no fish left to repopulate the lake.  Please note, as a  fiscal conservative, I am not suggesting that we over tax pro athletes and owners so we can fund our schools.  I am only pointing out the moral conundrum that this presents.

My goal is to put a little perspective around priorities today and give us something to think about.   If you’re reading this, you probably already agree with most of what I’ve said here, but unfortunately, much of society doesn’t quite get it and the media’s untiring coverage of celebrities and athletes only fuels the fire.   Not so long ago, our heroes included astronauts, soldiers, scientists and explorers and our values were much more grounded.  I’d hate to see this spirit fade away and become mere ghosts to that of the (less deserving) modern day media heroes.  That is why it’s vital that we exercise the personal leadership to keep the focus on the right priorities (and maybe the media will follow, someday).  Thank a veteran, hug a nurse, teach history, coach a youth team, invent something, drop off cookies at the fire station, volunteer with Junior Achievement, go to the school bake sale, support your PTA, learn an instrument, run for your school board, and of course, call you dad. The bottom line is never lose sight of the people and values that should really be at the top of our list.  By keeping our priorities in check and personally investing in each other, we will sow the seeds for a fundamentally better tomorrow.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2009 8:03 pm

    John, it really is an honor to know you!

    Thanks for articulating what (I hope) more people than we imagine are actually feeling.

    • jdygert permalink*
      July 12, 2009 9:30 pm

      Thank you very much Chris !! Together, we can make a difference!!

  2. Jason Mosakowski permalink
    July 16, 2009 10:05 am

    Absolutely right on the mark!

  3. Zach permalink
    July 24, 2009 10:04 pm

    So true, thanks john I really enjoyed this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: