I’ve commented on situations like this before. I just don’t get it. I have nothing against our dearly departed “friend”, or any of the countless other celebrities / public figures that die every year. I just don’t care. At all. One way or another.
I didn’t know the man, and chances are none of you did either. I’m sure he was a stand-up guy, loving husband, devoted father. Sure, there was that 2003 incident in Colorado… sorry. Is it too soon? The fact is, he was just a man. With talents, and faults. Just like the rest of us.
So why the heaps of unwarranted admiration? Did Kobe cure cancer? Bring peace to the Middle East? Get Trump to stop Tweeting? Nope. He just played a game, and was paid handsomely for it. Good for him. But let’s not pretend that his societal impact was “all that”. I don’t care if you slavishly dump your massive pool of sympathy on him. Just understand why I don’t.
You see, I never saw athletes, singers, actors or politicians as anything more than public servants. THEY serve US. Most of those folks provide services I don’t care one lick for. That doesn’t stop most of those people from pretending they’re “special”. They can throw a ball, carry a tune, cry on cue or lie straight-faced. I’m impressed, but just a little. But being impressed with a skill does not equate into respect for an individual.
I UNDERSTAND he was a nice guy. He coached his girl’s team, so she could train to attend the premier girls’s college program in the nation. I don’t begrudge his wealth, connections and celebrity status. It just makes no sense to laude attention over a person based on their status.
Captain Obvious reporting: There are a ton of nice, talented people all over the world. Most are not on television, Youtube or flying around in private helicopters. I personally find it morally questionable to elevate some people (celebrities) over others (common folk) in regards to who we celebrate, and who we ignore.
And, if someone is so worthy of attention, why do we wait until they stop respirating before we acknowledge their worth?
That said, here are some folks I know that are boring “everyday heroes”, that will not be lauded over by the fawnish, myopic media:
My wife works with disabled kids. She is paid very little, but is never bitter. Instead, she is kind, patient and usually the most stable adult role model most of her students have. For her efforts, she is kicked and punched by students, and unsupported by administrators. She still makes time to volunteer, and even works a side-hustle selling on eBay (to supplement her puny school paycheck).
My daughter suffers from depression and anxiety. But she still works a full-time retail job, paying down her student loan debt (NOT waiting for Bernie or Liz to pay it for her). She’s intelligent, but feels too deeply. She’s consistently the best friend, sister and daughter one could hope for. And she’s no one’s “victim”.
My son is a glass-wearing self-described “nerd” that developed his abilities into leadership skills. He commands a Naval Junior ROTC Battalion of 140 cadets, and still squeezes in playing in the band (Low Brass section leader). He works nights washing dishes, practicing his Spanish with the restaurant owners (who love him). Everyone who meets him instantly trusts him. At 18 years old, he’s up at 0500, and in bed by 2200. Disciplined, dedicated and compassionate.
Those are my Heroes.
Of course, there’s all the people that made my people great. The church leaders, Scout volunteers, our Band director and other teachers. Friends and acquaintances. The list is too long. And maybe that’s the problem.
Maybe we see good people all around us, and we get kinda de-sensitized to their awesomeness. So, these famous people that we don’t know act as a kind of receptacle for our misplaced care and concern. If you’re the kind of person that cries every time a little birdie dies, I get that. Seven people, including a little girl? It is tragic. But on a planet with over seven billion people, maybe (just maybe) some celebrity isn’t just that important. Especially when we’re surrounded by real, tangible goodness that should be acknowledged while still living.
What we decide to honor says more about us than those we pay tribute to. I was kinda sad when we lost Stephen Hawking and Mother Theresa. I didn’t know them, but I knew their works. The world was a better place with them living, and emptier without them. In contrast, I just don’t see athletic prowess as anything worthy enough to care about. You can train a seal to balance a ball on it’s nose. It’s cute. No offence intended.
Well, I’ve pissed-off enough people for the time being. See you all at the star-studded funeral extravaganza. I’ll be the one NOT crying.