What makes a hero? Is it someone who consistently exceeds the expectations set? Or, perhaps it's one whose trophy case is full of shiny statues and certificates deeming glorious accolades?
My little men have a hero. And their hero's trophy case overflows. Looking inside, you'll not find tall trophies or certificates framed. No, those are better served where they're adored most. In little boys' rooms on bed tables and perched on shelves amid books and stuffed animals, that's where they'll be. Nearby and tangible to growing hands who love nothing more than to rub the figure's sides smooth and engravings that dimple under fingerprints. Pretending often that the trophy reads their name, and dreaming up all the ways they deserved this recognition most.
Loved are these material representations of honor. Treasured and touched. So much that name plates tend to shift askew from thumbs pressed in proximity. And well, coaching statues get tired. Crouched on one knee and intensely involved in the pursuit of victory atop a black platform is taxing. Sometimes
they are handled so much that their head breaks almost completely off they can't help but lie their head down and rest even if it is in mid-play call tending.
Yes, my little men have a hero. What fills his trophy case? Snuggles on sleep-in mornings with his boys. Cereal slurpin' and Nerf basketball matches on bedroom closet doors. Andy Taylor and Opie in the evenings all piled up on the coach together. Hands intertwined in prayer before each evening meal. It's together trips to the dump, reading aloud National Geographic articles about the Titanic and baseball practices too.
My boys have a hero indeed. This hero's trophy case is chock full of the outstanding accolades he treasures most. Who is this guy? Well, if you're ever in East Tennessee on a Fall Friday night, make your way to this stadium. Cast your eyes into the home bleachers. Under the reflection of the night sky and million watt bulbs, look for the 2 little boys cheering the loudest and staring the longest at the home team's head coach. For that head coach? He's their hero.