February 4, 2013

We Don’t Need Another Hero. ~ Terri Tremblett

Tina Turner sang about it in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985.

I didn’t see the movie, but I do remember the song, We Don’t Need Another Hero. It was on the radio a lot back then.

Why then, do we look for heroes?

How did we elevate Lance Armstrong to hero status—to the point where, as he said during an interview with Oprah on January 17th, “this (interview) will live forever.”

(In case you haven’t seen it, it was a lengthy interview where Lance publicly admitted for the first time that yes, he did use performance-enhancing drugs for all of his Tour de France wins. Yes, he did it. Yes, he lied about it…even under oath.)

Like many others around the world, I was drawn into Lance Armstrong’s powerful hero orbit.  Being a fan of cycling, I watched in awe as he came back from cancer and not only competed in, but won the Tour de France. The first year was incredible, then he won it six more times.

Were there questions? Certainly…what he accomplished was unheard of. Yet he always passed when tested for performance-enhancing drugs.

I read Lance’s book, It’s Not About the Bike, which only served to further my admiration for this man who defied the odds and helped so many cancer patients along the way.

However, as we all witnessed, even heroes can fall.

If dishonesty did not exist, our prison system would not be necessary, let alone filled to capacity.

Lance Armstrong’s colossal fall from grace was one of the biggest stories near the end of 2012. I predict that his Oprah interview will be one of the biggest sound bites of the year, perhaps longer. I am not, however, here to judge Lance Armstrong or to determine his guilt or innocence.

Once a hero, not always a hero.

Lance Armstrong had it all—yet his success was not earned. It came as a result of one of the largest doping scandals in sporting history.

He lied. He cheated. He’s not a hero after all.

The Oxford dictionary defines a hero as:

A person distinguished by courage, noble deeds, outstanding achievements, etc.

Sounds simple enough. But…what does it mean to you and me?

Maybe the world’s definition of hero has become something else entirely. Maybe it is time for that definition to change.

We can all be people who are distinguished by courage, noble deeds and outstanding achievement. The world’s definition of hero, as Lance Armstrong so unceremoniously demonstrated, can come and go overnight.

The real definition of hero is beautiful and honest and real, and it’s the one that matters.

That’s the kind of hero we need.

Terri Tremblett is a freelance writer and editor who also works in finance and dabbles in various artistic pursuits. She is equally at home walking the beach or digging in the dirt but has not yet mastered the art of walking by a book store without going in. Her education did not end when she finished university, as her life regularly proves. She can sometimes be found behind her camera, often taking pictures of her kids, and learning about photography along the way.

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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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