It has been a rough time for us normal folk to get behind any of our heroes or inspirational people lately. Every time we think someone is wholesome, smart, and genuinely a good person, we get swatted down to earth just in time to hear our childhood shatter into a thousand pieces. What I have compiled are four individuals who may have been heroes of children, but it's really hard to say that these days. But for every negative, there is a positive, and so I will suggest a better hero for everyone to look up to. So let's get this started...
Newly appointed villain #1: Tiger Woods
I have never been a fan of him or his game, so the allegations and truths behind the Thanksgiving debacle were not a shock to me. But there a shock to the millions of people who thought that at least one athlete was above it all. Unfortunately, that idea was a slice into the rough (multiple puns intended). Tiger probably thought he could get away with it, especially as it sounds like most of his entourage allowed him to do this. And with a wife and kids, he threw it all away for what? The chance to live his childhood he never had? Maybe he never grew up because he never had the opportunity, but that's no excuse for what he did.
Alternative: Myron Rolle
A sixth-round draft pick for the Tennessee Titans, this doesn't look like much of an alternative. Until you realize this is the man who graduated from college in less than three years, earned the honor of Rhodes Scholar, and still plans to pursue his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon after his NFL days are over. Why would so many teams pass on the opportunity to draft him? Was he too smart? Last I checked, smarts were a good thing. And there have been no reports of late night shenanigans with him, so he's a positive role model for all boys and girls.
Newly appointed villain #2: Lebron James
Man, did he screw that one up. He WAS the face of a franchise, of a league, of a worldwide icon. But he'd rather win by backing up an actual champion, Dwayne Wade. Yeah, yeah, we don't know the whole story. We don't understand because we're simple folk who don't get why a guy who was deemed the best in the league wants to play second fiddle to get a championship. Did Michael Jordan do that? No. Did Larry Bird do that? No. Did Magic Johnson do that? No. I'm pretty sure that's 14 NBA championships without leaving an organization (we won't count Jordan's Wizard years... no else does, anyways).
Alternative: Kevin Durant
While LBJ was trying to get all the attention like a Kentucky basketball recruit, Durant kept a low profile on his extension to stay with his team. Let me emphasize that, he STAYED with his team. Durant may never be LBJ, he may never be Jordan, but he will stay in Oklahoma City to earn an championship with his team. I know it may be hard to understand, but there are some players out there who are willing to do what it takes with the pieces they have. And there are some who have the guts to LEAD their team to a championship. And while he's still young, Durant shows much more promise of being that leader.
Newly appointed villain #3: David Ortiz
What's that, Red Sox Nation? Your boy, Big Papi, won the Home Run Derby last night? Well, let me bring you back down to earth with the news that your boy once tested positive for steroids. Yeah, that's right. For all the talk of Selig cleaning up MLB, he got a 'roids boy winning the very title that he was trying to make 'roids free. And yes, he may not have any pumping through his blood right now, but it still feels kinda dirty to have him win.
Alternative: Hanley Ramirez
The runner-up to Ortiz, Ramirez may be a bright beacon in a sport trying to clean up its image. A. 314 career hitter with 113 home runs, he's one player the "Saux" should have held on to. And most likely with Florida's history, the money put on the table by Boston will probably entice him back north. But with so much talent, does he have it all to clean up the most cherished record of all, career home runs? Time will tell, but last night's showing breathes new life into a sport needing rejuvenation.
Newly appointed villain #4: Mel Gibson
This is a movie blog, so I should write about a villain in Hollywood. And he's not really a newly appointed villain, since he did have an unusual discussion about the Jews with police once. But even after people forgot about that, it might be that junction in Gibson's career where people will forget about him. As much as we loved the firecracker that was Gibson on-screen, he was a firecracker with a short fuse that finally got lit... and exploded in his face. I have no idea how this latest controversy will end, but the things he said to his ex-girlfriend go beyond understanding. It'll be hard watching Lethal Weapon or Mad Max films of yesteryear without wondering how big of an a-hole he was. I think Mel took his own freedom away with his latest, and possibly last, public statements.
Alternative: Ron Howard
Was there any other alternative? Howard has been a class act ever since he donned those overalls in Mayberry. In front of the camera, behind the camera, a cartoonish character on the Simpsons, Howard can roll with the punches. And yet, as much as we make fun of that wholesomeness he has displayed as Opie or Richie or just himself, we sometime forget that that's who he is. A decent guy who was able to make it through Hollywood without compromising who he is and what he wanted to become. We can only dream of having the success Howard has had and still be the same person on the other end. Our hats off to you, Mr. Hum Drum.
Any other villains/alternatives?