I like heroes. I'm happy to celebrate the idea of a person, to praise an act or event as heroic. I enjoy the fancy that people can be great, and rise above their problems, making the world a better place. I know it is rare, and even among those people who do inspire greatness there are flaws. But I like to have heroes.
There is a great article about Ken Griffey Jr. online, one of my baseball heroes. He is a perfect example for me, a hero is just a guy who plays a game well. He played well, got hurt, got old, and now he is on the verge of retirement. He is a hero to me, not because of anything spectacular or noble. He's just a person who sought to play a game perfectly, and nearly succeeded. He doesn't have any delusions that he is better than anyone, and there are some great quotes about how easy he had it compared to Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. And he did have it easier. But what makes a person great is how they act when given opportunities, their humility or sincerity in victory and defeat. A hero is the best at what they are. The best, forgive the cliche, them that they can be.
There are people whose moral and spiritual greatness outshines any ballplayer. I will point these people out to me children as models. There are leaders who inspire millions. But when my kids ask me how to act, how to just be a person, I'll think of people like Junior. Just go out there and do your best, smile, love what you are and what you do. You can't ask for anything more than that.