Real heroes are all around us

By Dave McLean

Around the same time I started to lament that the Flames might not make the post-season for the fourth straight year, I was in a class listening to a presentation on why Canada needs hockey. The argument centred around how we Canadians need to find a solution to avoid the permanent migration of our sacred ice knights. Surprisingly enough, I could see through all the arguments (even though I’m a huge fan) and I started to think about the bigger picture.

Pro-hockey teams are made up of talented individuals with skills many of us do not possess. To back this up, they are paid immense sums of money. So much money, in fact, that small fleets of dump trucks must be hired out to deliver the cash to their homes. When I was a kid, I played a fair amount of street hockey and I sometimes dreamed of being a pro-athlete, but I also dreamed of being Luc the garbage collector. Ask my mom.

The problem with today’s professional sports is that too often we find the athletes being as greedy as owners, and their compensation for "talent" to be near the profits of small multinationals. Why is it, then, that kids grow up idolizing these individuals? How do we accept the whining brats, the drunken rage-filled men and the stick-wielding gladiators as admirable members of society?

More recently in hockey, we’ve seen the dark side of the sport, with stick smashing and frequent concussions for all the public is shown that teamwork is reserved for special occasions when individuality is not being showcased. Where are all the heroes?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to rail on about how NHL policy should change or what measures should be taken to fix to violence in hockey–I’ll leave that up to the league–but I’d really like to know why people idolize the goons and skilled whiners alike?

Going back to my childhood, for some reason I wanted to be a garbage collector. I’m not really sure why, but if I was going to be a garbage collector I wanted to be called Luc. Maybe it was the fact that I wanted to play with the neat-o trucks, riding on the back, holding the railings and making lots of noise. But that’s not what I’m getting at. Really, a garbage collector is an under-appreciated member of society.

The real heroes are the one that take out your trash, that deal with things you can’t handle. They pick it up and take care of it for you. The real heroes are the dishwashers, firefighters, street teams volunteers and the ones that donate their time at the ever growing homeless shelters in Calgary. Real heroes have spent tours of duty in places like Bosnia or Cyprus, holding down the fort, keeping the peace, preventing all out wars.

There are lots of real heroes all around you. So take some time out and think about the people that make a difference, because god knows they’re not taking home $3 million, plus bonuses this year.

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