When it comes to heroes, bicycle racer and trainer Roger Rilling is an underdog kind of guy. What about you?
What does it take to be a hero? To me, it is the power to inspire others to be better. I’ve had my fair share of heroes over the years and every time I see them do their thing I am reminded of how far I have to go to become the man I want to be.
Perhaps I was a strange young boy since my heroes were friends, athletes and my elementary school janitor, instead of superheroes. I was always inspired more by reality than fantasy; the quest to be an athlete seemed much more obtainable than shooting webs out of my hands and fighting crime. As for listing my school janitor, a not very likely hero, let me explain. My grandfather spent part of his working life as a janitor. He spoke of it with great pride. As a boy on a quest to relate more to my grandfather, I started speaking to my school janitor. Although I quickly decided being a janitor was not for me, though continued conversations I did decide I wanted to be like him since he seemed happy. I did not understand until I was older just how much of an example my school janitor was setting for me; that it really did not matter what you did as long as you were happy with the life you lived.
As I grew older my heroes continued to be the underdogs — they simply inspired me more! Watching the 10th stage of the Tour reminded me of my heroes since two of my most recent heroes were fighting it out in the closing kilometers of the stage. If you have not watched the stage, STOP READING NOW!
For those of you still reading you probably know I am speaking of Thomas Voeckler and the charismatic, Jens Voight. Voeckler over the years has become the little French man that could, countlessly doing more than anyone could imagine. If you are not a fan of Voeckler, go back and watch the 2004 Tour were he fought off the race favorites as he held onto the yellow jersey for an amazing 10 days! Jens is another real man! Known as much for his clever quotes,”Shut up Legs”, as his constant attacks and amazing willingness to turn his body inside out with pain to help his team. Jens has been a huge inspiration to a lot of riders and at almost 41, he continues to show it is more about attitude than anything else.
The conclusion of the stage yesterday was kind of hard for me to watch. I simply did not know if I should cheer for Voeckler or Voight! In the end, the results did not matter as much as the inspiration that was created by two great heroes. Hopefully you got as much of a buzz off yesterday’s stage as I did.
Tell us what you think makes a hero.