By Michael Mark, creative director/CEO @NYCA
Full disclosure: I never liked Manny Ramirez. Not when he was a hero of the Red Sox Nation. Not now as a Dodger. Not because he was good at playing baseball because I do have an appreciation for his machine-oiled swing and his carefree clutch play. But Manny being Manny was two too many Mannys for me.
So that takes me to a news show the other day reporting that Manny Ramirez’s Dodger jerseys are being bought at a record pace since the news of his steroid violation. He’s been suspended for 50 games but sales on Manny mania is up.
Tell me why would anyone want Manny Ramirez’s name on their back even more now than before he was cited for illegal drug use?
Full disclosure number two: I feel the same way about A-Rod. And anyone else who cheats in or out of a Yankee uniform.
I have no issues with success and the riches and fame earned from it if one gets famous for doing decent things, for winning fair. You don’t have to be a working class guy to be a hero. Talent and fame aren’t enough to make you a person to look up to. You can be admired for your physical beauty and social powers but to become a hero, character should count more than homers.
So here’s to the heart-pounding excitement of playing by the rules.
To the miles after miles of straight and narrow.
To delivered-as-promised accountability.
To doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching. And when they are.
Here’s to the guy who holds his trash to toss it in the garbage can and picks it up and tries again when he misses a fall-away jumper. With no stadium, no cheers, no two fingers to the lips and up to the heavens when it goes in.
Here’s to celebrating ordinary goodness at a time when celebrity is so prized and so attainable.
Here’s to aspiring to be that kind of everyday hero.
Hallmark ought to make a day for it.
Everyday Hero Day.
When you care enough to send the very best to those who care enough to always do their best.
Goodness doesn’t need a posse. If a good act is executed and no one sees it each of us is made better.
It’s easy to see a ball smashed in the ninth inning fly over the wall to win the game. Should you miss it, they will replay it on the jumbo screen, on the sports shows, on the local news, in the paper, online, in the blogs, fan sites.
You think we can tell goodness without a batting average? Without a stage or if it didn’t step out of a limo in a $1,000 suit?
This requires more action on the spectator’s part.
We have a responsibility to see, point out and to judge who we each want to put on the mantel. If anyone.
My heroes’ names might not be in lights above all others. Some are, though.
She may not be able to sing or dance or run at record speed.
He may not have the mind to understand advanced strategy.
And, then again, they may have all of that. They may be famous for their talent and a nobody for their deeds.
They may be famous for their goodness. Like I said, being famous for doing the right thing is a good thing. It inspires more good stuff since fame is such an aspiration.
Give me the common good guy.
I will be proud to wear his jersey.
I will wait outside his workplace for his autograph.
I will point him out to my kids.
And put his poster over our bed (especially if my wife thinks he’s sexy).
You do the right thing under the intense pressure of an ordinary day or in the dark when the spotlight is off then you’ll have my respect and my thanks.
Now it may not be worth millions so I will also send you a hero card.