Sports "Heroes"?

I have hated throwing around the word "hero" when talking about an athlete for a long time now.  To me the term hero should be saved for those that truly are heroes, like those that put themselves in danger so others don't have to.  Athletes are for the most part just big kids in my eyes, they get to play a kids game and make an obscene amount of money doing it.  I have no problem with what they make doing what they do and I have a lot of respect for the talent they have and the discipline and hard work they do to keep themselves in playing shape and form, but to me that does not make them heroes at all.


What happened last Friday has changed my perspective on a lot of things, I have always pulled for players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Terrell Owens, and others with questionable character purely because of their athletic ability and the success that they have on the field.  Last Friday changed that.  After what happened last Friday there has been a player for the New York Giants that has kind of been singled out, because he was the "hero" of one of the kids that lost their lives in the school shooting.


Victor Cruz is a modern day Rudy Ruetteger.  I will never forget the first game I watched him play, it was a preseason football game, he was wearing the number 3 because the Giants didn't have any other receiver numbers available.  He went to high school in New Jersey, and played college football at UMASS, hardly a football powerhouse.  He was undrafted but the Giants gave him a shot, and in that first preseason game he looked like the best player on the field, and I don't just mean against the 2nd string.  They ended up giving him a roster spot in 2 years, he has made the pro bowl and has a super bowl ring.  He has done more in 2 years than a lot of players do in their whole career.


After the school shooting the friends and family of one of the kids took to twitter to try to get a hold of Victor Cruz and let him know that he was the hero of one of the kids that died, the family was even going to bury their son in a Cruz jersey.  I can't imagine the thoughts that had to be going through Cruz's mind, a guy that 2 years ago was a player that shouldn't have even made an NFL roster to now being the hero of a little boy who was killed.  Victor Cruz did the right thing, he got in contact with the family and he went and mourned the loss of their child with them, I am sure that it didn't make them hurt any less but the point was that he did whatever he could.  It was a situation that was thrown in his face, he wasn't looking for free publicity or to be the "hero", it just turned out that at the end of the day, he was the hero.