Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My heroes

Dogs over people? I am an animal lover so please don’t get mad. I find irony in the fact that we will put a dog down to save them the pain and suffering of death but we will stand by and watch our loved ones starve to death from illness and disease without assisting them in a more humane passing. Here is some more irony to put on top of that. It’s in the news lately. I don’t watch sports. I don’t like sports. I think pro athlete’s get paid absorbanantly too much money to do what they do. If we valued education, clean energy practices or world peace as much as we do professional sports, this country might actually be something someday. But alas, we are barbaric Neanderthals who pay these outrageous ticket prices and buy the vendor food for the “American Experience” of baseball, football and many other sports which I have learned are defined by only one thing…excess. Robin Williams once said, “Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too much money.” A more true statement may never have been spoken. Not all of the time but most, windfall money leads to alcohol, drugs, sex with strangers, hard partying and is followed by hard times.

Apparently it was a shock to the world back in 2007 when Michael Vick was charged and convicted of being “the key figure” in an interstate dog fighting ring. It was a felony conviction that even with plea agreements sent Vick to jail for 2 of the 3 year prison sentence. He was released in May of this year and as of yesterday he was conditionally reinstated back into the NFL. The condition being that he completes his federal time on house arrest, as if he has a choice. Groups such as PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) are protesting this decision and hope to get it overturned. The basis of their argument is that you can’t just say you are sorry and play ball again after participating in the cruel murder of hundreds of dogs. Children look up to sports figures and Michael Vick is not a good roll model. I stand by PETA 100%.

I find this all very interesting being a born and bread St. Louisan. Does anyone remember Leonard Little? He is still currently a St. Louis Rams player, who back in 1998, left a party drunk and crashed into and killed Susan Gutweiler in St. Louis, MO. He was not just drunk but twice the legal limit registering at 0.19 in blood alcohol levels. Little pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and he received 90 days in jail, four years probation and 1000 hours of community service. The NFL suspended Little for 8 games in the 1999 season due to his conviction. Just 6 years later in 2004 Little was arrested again for drunk driving and speeding. Because of his prior conviction he was a repeat offender and was charged with a felony in this case. Little was acquitted of the DUI but convicted of misdemeanor speeding and received no jail time nor suspension from the NFL in this case. I don’t actually remember hearing about it at the time.

Both of these cases are absolutely appalling but it sickens me that people are so upset about Michael Vick being reinstated. Yes, what Vick was convicted of doing is a heinous crime for which he should never be allowed back into professional sports in my opinion. He is no role model but I don’t think any sport personality should be. Why are people so upset about Vick’s dog fighting and not Little's MURDER of another human being? Why do those same people go to Sunday’s game and cheer on Little? Vick killed dogs, Little killed a person. Vick got years in jail, Little got months. I wonder how Susan Gutweiler’s family feels as they watch Leonard Little take the field each Sunday to the adoring applause of the St. Louis Rams fans?

Who decided sports athletes were hero’s anyway? I know Kobe raping that girl and then paying her off made him my hero. OJ killing Nicole and Ron, oh yeah…now that’s a man. How about Majic admitting to having unprotected sex with hundreds if not thousands of women during the course of his marriage? Then the newest accused rapist, Ben Roethlisberger…I wanna be like him. If you are a parent or plan to be someday, you might want to rethink what a role model is.

Here are some interesting facts about men in sports:
· According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, around 100 athletes per year - that's two per week -- are accused of rape or other violence toward women.
· Research has shown that athletes also have a high incidence of risky behavior: drug abuse, reckless driving, gambling and promiscuity.

Here are some of the reason’s that players exhibit these characteristics:
· With contracts and money come power and a sense of entitlement.
· You must be aggressive and competitive to get to where they are and they don’t back down, on or off the field.
· Over confidence or a feeling of control and optimism is ever present. They forget the bad and concentrate on the good.
· They have a need for constant stimulation and are always seeking more.

My idea of a hero is someone who lives through extraordinary circumstances or experiences severe hardship and in the end they come out with their character still in tact. Some famous people I would put into that category:
Helen Keller
Anne Frank
Maya Angelou
Dave Pelzer- author of A Child Called “It”
Oskar Schindler
Mother Teresa
Mahatma Gandhi
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rosa Parks
Barack Obama
Irena Sendler

Then there are everyday people who live their lives with honest and integrity everyday. My real life heroes are:

Paul and Barb Theilig for the parents that they are to their 4 kids and many more.

Paul and Robin Gramlich for the parents that they were to Leigh and the friends that they have become to me. I learned many of life’s lessons at their kitchen table.

My sister who has followed her dreams all the way to the Missouri Bar Exam this week.

My boyfriend who saves lives.

My girl Nichole Taylor who just passed her medic exam.

My friend Anna works with disabled people and helps them get into housing and to take care of themselves.

My best friend Manda who has become everything I thought she would be and more.

Then there are people who are there to do good because they love it (most of the time):
Police Officers
Social Workers

Everyone has their own idea of what a hero is. Mine are far from a sports field. To be a hero in my eyes it is about the person you are inside. These sports “heroes” don’t make it far with me. Idealizing sports figures for physical capabilities or strengths to me takes away from the true person that they are, which unfortunately is sometimes no good. I once saw Kurt Warner give a speech to a junior football league in St. Louis. He had his Super Bowl ring and his Heisman Trophy with him but what he said was what I really remember about the man. He said football is what he does and what he loves but it is not who he is. He is a husband, a father and a man of God before all of those things. I am not a religious person but I felt humbled by his comment. He honestly didn’t feel like he was any better or worse than the other 200 people in the room that day. To me, that is a true hero.

Me and Kurt Warner at the Youth Group speech he did in St. Louis.

As for Vick and Little, I say we lock them in a room and let them fight it out until the death. The last man standing gets hit by a drunk driver and if he survives he is back in the NFL!


  1. you should also be your own hero for pulling yourself up by your boot straps, sludging through the mud and making yourself out to be the lovely person you are today... I am proud and honored you are my friend.

  2. I am with you on this one sister! I love the pic of Nicole at the top.

  3. You are so sweet. I love you...