I spent an hour and a half yesterday with a HS lacrosse team that certainly knows how to win. I sat in the room and listened as they spoke openly, rallied around each other, and shared emotion that moved me. They didn’t know it, but it moved me. I walked out when we were done feeling refreshed. YES, this is what being a part of a team is about. There were many heroes in that room yesterday. The quiet ones, the outspoken ones, the ones who laughed and those who cried. The words, the silence. The thoughts, the understanding… they were all heroes.
I believe that every team has a hero. It’s not one person… it’s many. And…sometimes a hero isn’t even a person at all. It’s s a feeling. It’s a moment. It’s when a bond can’t be broken. It’s an unspoken look, it’s an electricity that sometimes has no words. It’s trusting that no matter what, you can’t fail because it’s not just about you anymore. A hero isn’t an isolated incident, it’s not scoring the winning goal or hitting the winning homerun. It’s the quiet moments, the ones that may not count in the scorebook. It’s being the person to step aside sometimes and letting someone else get the spotlight. There is a lacrosse team out there playing hero…. I am glad to have been in the room with them. Today, my hero is you. And you had no idea…
I drove back to my facility and on my way was listening to my iPod. Unmistakenly, as my life has its way of giving me signs that sometimes I couldn’t miss no matter what, the song Hero, by Mariah Carey came on. I have loved that song since it first came out, often referring to it as one of my all time favorites. I know, I am dating myself… but it’s a song that had a lot of meaning in my earlier life and, to this day, creates feelings of being the right person for others. Sometimes we are the hero. Sometimes, we surround ourselves with them so we can let another light shine.
On my way up the road, I was slowed by a lot of traffic. Having a moment of “Ugh, not traffic again” since I was stuck in some on my way there earlier, I had a flash of annoyance come over me. Then all of a sudden it hit me. I realized what the traffic was. I had read earlier that there would be a lot of traffic in the area due to an historical event going on here in Coatesville. Just then I was flagged by police to turn down a side road to take a detour. I was up on a hill and could oversee the entrance to Lukens Steel. I quickly pulled over and got out of my car, almost like I was having an out of body experience. I was standing on the side of the road with a handful of other onlookers before I knew it, and watched as the last of the 28 truck convoy drove slowly into the entrance. They were carrying a load of steel girders on each truck. 500 tons in all. But this wasn’t any steel… most days, trucks carrying steel would not stop traffic and bring people out to watch. This steel happened to be the frame that was built 40 years ago at this same plant it was coming home to. And the frame was from the first nine floors of the World Trade Center buildings. And as I stood and watched, American flags draping the trucks, ladder trucks spanning the road with a flag the convoy rode under, I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of lives lost on that one gut-wrenching day. As I have written about before, the close ties to both my family and friends affected by the tragedy will be forever ingrained in my mind and on my heart. I know we will never be the same. But it’s because of the many heroes who gave of themselves, that so many people survived. I was lucky to not lose my sister that day. And as I watched that last truck drive under the American flag, I had tears in my eyes knowing that those pieces of steel represented a whole list of people who played hero that day. And I thanked them. Today, my hero is you. And you have never even met me.
I was in the Turkey Hill tonight, picking up some milk on my way home. There was a man and his son standing by the ice cream. When I turned the corner, I saw a little girl standing next to the boy holding his hand. She was probably about 4 and he was no more than 7 or 8. While dad was picking out his flavor, the boy looked down at his sister and asked her what kind of ice cream she wanted. She pointed. The boy reached in and got it out of the freezer, holding onto her hand the whole time. Just then, the doll she was holding by the hair fell out of her hand and into the freezer. She started to cry at the thought of her doll freezing to death, so the boy quickly reached down in and grabbed it before it could get as much as a slight chill. He turned to her and in that moment, the most beautiful expression on a little boy’s face I have ever seen caught my eye. “Miss Lizzy is ok Jess. I saved her.” And right then, the flavor of ice cream didn’t much matter. Jess had a hero holding her hand. Today, my hero is you. A 7 year-old little boy who didn’t even know I was there.
So, about those lacrosse girls? They won tonight. I sat in the bleachers watching a team who knows how to be a team. And after the game, I made my way across the field to give some high fives. Instead, I got a huge group hug. In that moment I remembered, again, why I do what I do. Or more importantly, why I LOVE to do what I do. The excitement, the chemistry, the feeling of a team. It’s all MY hero. The couple seconds as I was walking toward them, and they were running to hug me… ALL OF THEM… Little did they know the impact. They thanked me for coming to cheer them on and for the time we spent yesterday together. But little did they know…
Today, my hero is you.