Heroes and Legends

When I was a very young boy back in the 1960s, I used to watch my heroes on a black and white TV screen. The heroes in those days were cowboys and they rode horses. Heroes like The Lone Ranger, Poncho and Cisco, Bat Masterson, and Matt Dillon. As I grew older, about the age of 10, the TV shows were in "living color." Instead of the good guys and villains riding horses, they began driving cars.

In addition to the change in their means of transportation, they started using more physical force. Instead of just punching each other they were now kicking with their feet and their knees. And they started using karate chops to the neck. WOW! That was a cool change to see. On this one TV series whenever someone got hit or kicked or chopped, you would see the words pop up on the screen like Biff, Swoosh, and Bam to accent the sounds of the strikes. It was really neat to see how the heroes punched and kicked the villains before slaying them and arresting them. Can you guess from this description who my first color TV crime-fighting hero was? If you guessed Batman, you are correct.

Over some time, the action in the different TV series became more real and less fake looking like a cartoon or comic book characters. The stories were more real too. There were still good guys and bad guys but they took on more adult roles in real-life situations. These newer heroes still drove a car and some still wore masks. There was one hero of mine that did not wear leotards and capes like Batman and Robin. His punches and kicks were fast as lightning and they stung like a hornet's sting when the villains got hit by them. This character was very real to me and quickly became my very favorite hero. He actually became a living legend. You probably figured out by now who this one hero and legend is. Yes, he was none other than Bruce Lee who played the character of Kato, the chauffeur in a weekly TV series entitled, "The Green Hornet."

I think it is important that when we are young and growing up, both boys and girls have someone to look up to. A mentor or a hero that demonstrates good ethics and morals can help someone become what they aspire to be. If we see someone that is a rising star on television or in real life that demonstrates a gift or talent that we love to watch, and possibly want to do ourselves, that will have a huge impact on our psyche and self-confidence in a positive way. More than likely that will set us up for success in life as we try to emulate them. We may become just like them or even become greater than they are, or were.

Here is a small list of some heroes and legends that we can identify with: Bruce Lee, Michael Jordan, Mary Lou Retton, Eric Clapton, Nelson Mandela, Donnie Yen, Cal Ripken Jr., Simone Biles, Amelia Earhart, Chuck Norris, Tom Brady, Jet Li. The list goes on and on. All of these people had someone they looked up to, a mentor, coach, hero, or legend. They were all well-disciplined and they all practiced their skills for hours daily. They all stayed focused on the single goal of being the best at what they wanted to become. More than likely they, also, became someone's hero or legend.

So I ask you to take a minute and reflect on the time when you were growing up. Take a good look at yourself. Think about who your mentors or coaches were. Think about who you wished to be like when you were growing up. I bet those people helped to mold you into the person you are today. Do you remember them?

Domo Arigato,

Master Tom