There Goes My Hero… Watch Him As He Goes
In May of 2003, the Foo Fighters released a CD called The Colour And The Shape. I used to listen to this CD before I wrote sales letters — it would get me totally fired up and focused to write with passion and vibrance.
There’s a song on that CD called My Hero, which is excellent, and the first line goes, “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes… There goes my hero, he’s ordinary.”
And the truth is, most of the heroes who will come into and out of your life, really are ordinary. Ordinary people just like you and me, maybe some who’ve just done a few extraordinary things.
Today I want to tell you how very proud I am of one of my heroes. Oddly enough, I’ve not had very many heroes in my life. Perhaps I’m not easily impressed… perhaps I haven’t been around enough (not likely)… or perhaps I’m just too stubborn to recognize them when they’re right in front of me, or too stubborn to find them. Who knows?
But one of my heroes has ALWAYS been an unlikely hero — my oldest son Nicholas.
Nick who’s 16 and a half, for a while when he was a kid, had it pretty rough. Let’s just say that when he was living with my ex-wife, even though it was years ago, he didn’t deserve to be in some of the environments he found himself in, and he damn sure wasn’t treated the way he deserved to be treated, either.
So I guess going through a few years of this — and of course, every day of misery is much longer than even 10 days of mediocrity — it often feels like Nick and I have served some sort of prison sentence together, for there truly is nothing more imprisoning than not being able to control and eliminate tragedy that’s being unfairly shoved into your loved one’s lives.
It’s almost like he was my partner in the foxhole for all those years, and I’ve always admired him for his survival and leadership skills. And when you spend that much time in the foxhole with someone, you become VERY close, and very protective of each other.
He’s also very intuitive and very bright and I know he is going to have a very fulfilling life, in spite of having to “grind’ it out during these teenage years. He’s a bright light on the horizon and I hope I’ve taught him a thing or two about life that will help him.
Plus, there’s this “thing” dads have with their first-born sons. Can’t explain it any more than you can explain why you can “sense” someone is staring at you or coming up behind you, but… it’s there.
I don’t always agree with Nick, but I love him dearly, and he and I will ALWAYS be close, no matter what, through thick and thin.
And he’s always had my back.
For example, I remember one time when I was working as a financial planner. I rented an exhibit table at a “business” expo, in… of all places — Costco. Yes, I know — wrong message to market match, but this was L-O-N-G before I knew about direct marketing and all that stuff.
Anyway, we literally had NO ONE approach the table, ALL DAY LONG, and the only people who came near me, were old women wanting to steal all of my Hershey’s Kisses and free pens. I was discouraged as hell, but Nick, who came along with me that day… Nick kept encouraging me every single minute, “Don’t worry dad, it’s not over. Someone’s going to come along and make an appointment with you.”
And then he’d say, “Well, at least we got to hang out and spend all this time together talking.”
And that was TRULY, the best part of the day — far more valuable than I would have thought.
I will always remember that support and vote of confidence, which came at a period of time when my own support and confidence wasn’t particularly strong.
Yesterday, at around 7:30 pm, Nick made me VERY proud. After losing 55 pounds over the last 18 months, and going from a fat unhealthy kid, to a lean, shredded, muscular athlete, bigger and stronger than I am, Nick, who joined the wrestling team just 6 weeks ago… had his first wrestling match, with his brother, sister, Anne, and I watching him. (He’s also a red belt in Tae Kwan Do, so watch out brother!)
He weighed 148 pounds and was wrestling an experienced wrestler who weighed 160, and… frankly, even though my son fought like a soldier, the match was over pretty quickly.
Nick was pretty disheartened and disappointed, and after the meet, I held on to him and told him how very proud he’s made me, and how happy I was for him. And then, I congratulated him.
He looked at me like, “Why are you congratulating me?”
And I explained he should be thrilled, because he just experienced the very WORST performance he was ever going to have. The worst wrestling match of his life. From now on, every single match he will ever have, will be better, and better still.
And you can forgive yourself for just about anything, and release yourself from disappointment pretty easily, once you accept that every single performance you will ever do, moving forward, will be a hell of a lot better than the one you just gave.
There goes my hero.
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