Growing up I idolized David Banner. Now most of you probably do not know who David
Banner was however you probably have heard of who he “became” when he got angry.
He turned into the Incredible Hulk (The real one). The Incredible Hulk was my hero
and for some weird reason I too wanted to be green. I wanted to save the hurting
and protect the innocent. I wanted to “break” those bullies who pushed me down and
made fun of me. The Incredible Hulk did just that.
It seems no matter who our heroes are either they get too old for us or us to old
for them. For one generation it may have been Mickey Mantle or Jackie Robinson.
For another it may have been Ronald Reagan or Colin Powell. Still for others it
could have been The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes or Jackie Joyner Kersey. Maybe
it was Neil Armstrong or Lance Armstrong. Today, there are “other” heroes like Hannah
Montana and John Cena. Bret Farve and Carrie Underwood are just a few of many who
we may sometimes call our “heroes”.
So, what or who are heroes? Who gets to decide whether someone is a hero? Do you
have to save someone from a burning building or land on the moon to be a hero? I
guess the definition of a hero is in the eye of the beholder. For me, I have two
new heroes. One is Mallory Holtman and the other is Liz Wallace. They embody what
a hero really is and here is how they demonstrated it:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky
of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had NEVER
done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the center-field fence.
But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base,
started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.
She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would
be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner
could be called in, and the homer would count as a single. Then, members of the
Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky
around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count - an act that contributed
to their own elimination from the playoffs. Central Washington first baseman Mallory
Holtman, the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked
the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky. The umpire said there was
no rule against it. So Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky's
legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed around the base
paths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with her good leg.
"We started laughing when we touched second base," Holtman said. "I said, 'I wonder
what this must look like to other people." "We didn't know that she was a senior
or that this was her first home run," Wallace said. "That makes the story more touching
than it was. We just wanted to help her." Holtman said she and Wallace weren't thinking
about the playoff spot, and didn't consider the gesture something others wouldn't
do. "I really didn't say too much. I was trying to breathe. All I could do was focus
on the pain”, she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview "I didn't realize
what was going on until I had time to sit down and let the pain relax a little bit,"
she said. "Then I realized the extent of what I actually did."
"I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation," Tucholsky added. As
the trio reached home plate, Tucholsky said, the entire Western Oregon team was in
tears. Central Washington coach Gary Frederick, a 14-year coaching veteran, called
the act of sportsmanship "unbelievable." For Western Oregon coach Pam Knox, the gesture
resolved the dilemma Tucholsky's injury presented. "She was going to kill me if we
sub and take (the home run) away. But at the same time I was concerned for her. I
didn't know what to do," Knox said. Tucholsky's injury is a possible torn ligament
that will sideline her for the rest of the season, and she plans to graduate in the
spring with a degree in business. Her home run sent Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory,
ending Central Washington's chances of winning the conference and advancing to the
playoffs. "In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much," Holtman said.
"It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved
a home run."
Where are all the heroes? All the “real” heroes are inside you and me. Real heroes
are ordinary people willing to look beyond themselves to help someone in need. Real
heroes put others first, don’t care if others are watching or who is watching, don’t
expect an ovation and rejoice when others succeed. I dare you to be a hero!
By Brian Hoover