Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Heroes for my son

Last year I wrote a few articles about heroes in Brad Meltzer’s book, ‘Heroes for my Son’.  I recommended the book because it told stories about people that many of us do not know or only know a little about.

Today’s ‘Hero” from Brad’s book is Lou Gehrig.  The story is called, “Indestructible”.   Us old timers know about Lou as one of the greatest baseball players of all times and also because of the disease that he had … ALS.  Mr. Meltzer told his story this way:

Lou Gehrig - Indestructible

[Despite muscle spasms and broken bones, New York Yankee Lou Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games over thirteen seasons. In each of those thirteen seasons, he scored 100 runs and hit 100 RBI. His batting average of .361 in seven World Series brought the Yankees six titles. It took a debilitating and fatal disease to take him off the field, and even then he wasn’t beat.]
For thirteen seasons, Lou Gehrig never missed a single game.  Think of it.  Think of what happens over thirteen years...
He didn’t miss a game when he was sick.  Or when he was tired, or bored, or not feeling right.  Not when he was under the weather, or drained, or just wanted to take a day for himself.
Not when he broke his thumb.  Or his toe.  Or when he suffered the seventeen other healed fractures that they found in just his hand and that they never knew about because he never complained.
For thirteen seasons, for more than two thousand games in a row, Lou Gehrig showed up, because he never wanted to let us down.
The only thing that stopped him?  The fatal disease that once caused his back to spasm so badly, he had to be carried off the field at the end of the ninth inning.

They called Lou Gehrig “the Iron Horse.”  But he wasn’t made of iron.  He was made like us.  He just didn’t let that stop him.
I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. And I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.
[Lou Gehrig, farewell speech, July 4, 1939, Yankee Stadium]
Knowing the way I feel some days and how a few broken bones effected my life, Lou Gehrig’s accomplishments both on and off the field astound me.  He was an Ironman.

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