I love sports and when the athlete is a very good person, they become one of my heroes.I have many of them. They are usually Christian men and women, who through hard work and clean living, they have achieved greatness. One of my heroes is my nephew Daniel Sanders who played on an average high school football team. His parents are from Imperial and Holtville, Mickey and Cheri, my in-laws. Through his hard work, Daniel got a full ride scholarship to the University of Colorado, and later played briefly for the Rams and the Ravens in the NFL. “Dan the Man” worked really hard in the weight room, followed the wise counsel of his coaches and had very high football intelligence.
I also root for the rehab projects, where talented folks have gone into a tailspin and after the crash they pick themselves up, and begin anew in a more successful fashion. I am a dog lover, but I am cheering for Michael Vick, the Philadelphia quarterback, who went to the dogs, then to prison, and now is back in good form and much better faith. Our Chargers wupped the Eagles last weekend, and I was rooting for them both. Heroes are a good thing, as long as you don’t devalue yourself in the process. There is a very good movie with Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman called “Hero.” Check it out if you can get it. It came out in the ‘80’s.
Well, I have a new hero and that is a young man, I have never met, named Royce Freeman, a senior at Imperial High School, and an outstanding running back and kick return man. He is the 3rd leading rusher in the history of the San Diego high school section. He has great stats, but he has more stature as being a good guy, serious student and hard worker. He was in a friend of mine’s class and he spoke well of him as a student. Another friend, who is a football trainer, said young Mr. Freeman, is a better person, than he is a football player. The Union Tribune had a sports section front-page article on him after Imperial beat up Sweetwater High School last weekend. He used the bright lights of his stardom to show a humble teenager, who gives God some credit for his success. I live in El Centro, worship in Brawley, and watch football Friday nights in Imperial. They have a well-coached, disciplined group of players. It is fun with a capital “F.”
A great line from the “Hero” movie is that “we are all heroes, it just depends on when you happen to be watching us.” Now some people are not heroes, but most people do shine sometimes. I hope Royce continues to shine the light of morals, discipline, God and his family values when he goes to Oregon next year. He has done the paperwork and will be in great program, which I think is currently ranked #2 in the nation. When a young person goes to college, they are going to be challenged by sex, drugs, rock and roll, amongst other distractions. I hope my new hero can stay the course. There will be no parents and often too much hero worship in a college setting. Let’s hope he keeps his hometown humility. He’s not there yet, so I am going to enjoy this season a lot! And next year, well I will pray, and keep watching my new hero from afar.