Posted tagged ‘Heroes’

Wrestling with Spartan Loyalty

January 28, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             January 28, 2018


It’s been a tough week in Spartan Land! The Larry Nassar horror had been going on for a while. I wanted to believe that he was more connected to USA Gymnastics than Michigan State University.

You see, that’s a big part of my problem, and struggle. I don’t want to believe that anything can go wrong in Spartan Country.

Sports Information Director at the Air Force Academy, Troy Garnhart, told me of the Academy’s football game at Michigan State a couple of years ago. He was impressed by everything- the people, the facilities, but, most of all, the hospitality and genuineness of the coaches and players. That’s what I want to hear! It’s difficult to hear that the coin actually has another side to it.

I want to believe that about the other university about an hour southeast down the road. Anything that makes Jim Harbaugh want to puke…like a blocked punt on the final play of a football game…brings a smile to my face!

But this is Spartan Land, and I wouldn’t even want such a debacle to happen in Ann Arbor. One of sexual assault victims of Larry Nassar is the daughter of a man who was a part of the youth group I led back in the early eighties in Lansing. Her testimony personalized a story that became so immense that there was a danger of seeing so many victims- more than one hundred and fifty, but forgetting that each one of them endured pain and suffering.

As happens in our culture, the indiscretions of one becomes the fault of the many. We’re teetering on the edge of a moral ledge where things that have been kept hidden are raising their ugly heads. In recent months, more than usual, an incision into the heart of our society has revealed the darkness of how we live. In our talent for avoidance we usually shrug off the rumors, but, in this situation, the reality has tsunami’ed us. The Nassar crimes are like when you look at a wall and see a crack in the paint, but when you more closely investigate it you notice that the crack extends in all directions.

I want to still live in Spartan Land but the “Green and White” has become grey-ish! I want my heroes to stay standing on pedestals, but I’m afraid that the possibility of falling off is increasing daily.

And how far does the failure of responsibility ripple out? A university president and the athletic director have already retired/resigned. The entire board of USA Gymnastics joined the list of resignations. How many more will be found to have ignored the elephant in the room?

I’ll always root for the Spartans, but when I wear my Michigan State hoodie nowadays I’m reminded more of the damage that has been done to a multitude of lives than I am of Spartan victories.

A school that has been known for “Magic” has entered a new chapter that is entitled  “Tragic”!

Who Are The Real Heroes?

June 13, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           June 13, 2013


Heroes was the name of a TV series that ran for four seasons from 2006 to 1010. It was based on the lives of ordinary people who discover superhuman abilities, and how the abilities effected their everyday lives.

My daughters watched Heroes faithfully. I usually had a meeting or something on the nights it aired, so I never really got into it. We weren’t “DVRing” yet!

The past two days I have been watching different kind of heroes- real-life heroes. These heroes are men and women who are fighting the Black Forest fire on the north side of our city. Most of them are experiencing something similar to superhuman abilities. Not jumping tall buildings in a single bound, or being able to pass through solid walls, but rather reaching inside themselves and taking their efforts to a deeper level…being able to do some things that they would not normally do. I remember talking to Steve Oswald this past year about his experience with the Waldo Canyon fire. He was one of the command post chiefs, working 36 straight hours, getting about four hours of week, and then going another 24 hours. When lives are at stake heroes kick it to a different level.

Heroes lay themselves on the line. Some pray without ceasing. They cry out to God with a sense of urgency that consumes them.

Some people are heroes because of sacrificial efforts. The front doors of their homes are open wide. People in need are welcomed and cared for. Heroes sometimes are made from extreme acts of hospitality.

Heroes are made through elevated abilities to listen. The anguish of a young boy who has lost the only home he has ever known is acutely perceived by a stranger he has never met. Time stands still for the hero who knows someone needs to just talk.

Heroes are those people whose first thought was what could they do to help the first responders? They didn’t think about the smell of smoke in the air, they thought about those who are battling the blazes in the midst of the smoke. Heroes are those people who grabbed a case of Gatorade and a box of granola bars and took them to the local aid station.

Heroes are those who persevere, who are not blown and tossed by the winds of unpredictability, but stay the course.

A hero can be a young boy with a sling shot facing a giant as an army of terrified men shrink back in fear. A hero can be a young girl who speaks truth to a bully when everyone else keeps their lips shut.

Heroes are the men and women who stand ready to do battle…of blazes…on battlefields…in areas away from where they themselves live, as well as close to home.

A hero is an athlete who makes a game-winning shot, but then visits children stricken with severe illnesses in a hospital ward.

Heroes emerge, not of their own doing, but out of necessity because of a cause.

Heroes inspire without saying a word. Heroes react out of attitudes of humbleness.

Heroes don’t look for parades. Parades evolve because of the gratitude of those they’ve served.

This is a day of heroes who are simply doing what they know they have to do.