Surely, there are thousands of bad blog posts, not unlike this one, that attempt to identify a hero. I got called out on the air today by the usual crowd of whiners; they live to judge others.
“Why don’t you talk about something that matters?”
“What, did KOGO become a sports station all of a sudden?”
“Tony Gwynn is a baseball player, NOT a hero.”
Of course, skip mentioning the one thing that is tying hundreds of thousands of San Diegans together and I’d be doing this community a great disservice. If people don’t want to discuss San Diego issues, then KOGO isn’t the right station for them. I’m sure the lasting economic impact of Roman aqueducts throughout the life of the Caesars is a fascinating topic that is readily available on a station underwritten by listeners like you. (Ouch!)
Tony Gwynn never saved a kitten from a burning building. He never hauled a buddy to safety during a raid on a Vietnamese village. Number 19 never once, as far as I know, performed CPR on a drowning infant. If acts of rescue alone define hero, we are in a sad world with very few left to admire.
A hero inspires. A hero leads. A hero has honor. A hero overcomes.
Tony Gwynn did that. While he may not have been a hero in service uniform or firefighter turnout gear or lifeguard shorts, Number 19 inspired, led, overcame and showed San Diego honor.
Tony Gwynn would welcome others into his circle of recognized heroism. He was the kind of guy that always wanted to acknowledge the efforts of others first. In fact, it’s because of that selfless character that he can be called a hero.
I’ll no doubt catch criticism for “ignoring our men and women in uniform; those are the REAL heroes.” Happens all the time; someone wants to diminish the accomplishments of one man in an effort to boost the reputation of another. It never works. What works is adding onto the list of heroes. Maybe that's what we should be doing instead of criticizing all the coverage of a great man; spending more time recognizing more great individuals.
Tony Gwynn WAS a hero; more importantly, he will forever be a role model.