November 10, 2008
My avatar of a hero is 2nd year pro football player, Adrian Peterson. He is my hero
for many reasons. To me, he is what defines a hero. He was born on March 21, 1985. His
jaw-dropping performance on the field and his attitude off the field has many people
following his path in wonder. He is the pinnacle of proof that hard work can get you
somewhere in life. He wasn’t raised up with a lot, much less than you or me, but he
trained himself, kept himself in check, and now he is the star that we see on TV. He is my
hero because unlike other people, he speaks with his actions, not his words. He carries his
team on his shoulder and never falters. He never shies away from a challenge, meeting it
head up and taking it on. He will never let critism get to him, but when it does, he uses it
in a manner that makes him better. Not worse. And he is my hero for all these reasons
and more. He shows bravery, compassion for his men, but undoubtedly every hero even
Adrian Peterson has a tragic flaw.
Growing up in a trailer in the rural area of Palestine, Texas, Adrian Peterson never
had a lot. He lived out in the country, where pretty much the only people in his
immediate vicinity were his relatives. Knowing this, he had developed a strong work
ethic early in his life. He used everything that he had, to become better. He fought
adversity up to the day of the NFL Combine. Adrian first-hand witnessed his brother’s
death at the untimely age of 10. At the young age of 13, Adrian’s father, Nelson was
sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering in connection with a drug ring. And
the day when he should have been most focused and prepared, he received news of his
close half-brother’s death during the NFL Combine. How a man could possibly push
November 10, 2008
himself to run a 4.40 40-yard dash after receiving news of the death of a close one, I
couldn’t even imagine. The pain and misery he must have felt. Yet he still braved through
the storm and fought the tides of adversity to come out 2nd in the Combine. To me, that is
true bravery, the willpower to push all doubts aside and fight in the loving memory
instead of crying and moping in his loss.
Adrian has always shown compassion for his teammates, on and off the field. He
brings his leadership everywhere, from the field to the streets. Unlike most leaders who
give inspirational speeches and are all about words, he leads his team with his actions.
His aggressiveness, his style, his explosion. It pushes his teammates to fight harder
alongside him. Adrian makes them want to work harder, and he makes them want to win.
His work ethic has pushed some of his teammates to become so good, that even a person
who doesn’t even know the game can tell the intensity of the team. And his fans see that
too. That’s why he was picked for the Pro-Bowl last year. And not only was he the starter
of the Pro-Bowl, he was also picked as MVP of the game. Like a true leader, he carries
the weight of the team on his shoulder. In just one season of starting, the coaches have
noticed his dynamic abilities, making their whole playbook revolve around him.
Even great heroes like Adrian Peterson have tragic flaws. But once you hear his
tragic flaw, you’ll be stunned in amazement to how he possibly turned out. His tragic
flaw is his inability to have a normal childhood. Like mentioned earlier, Adrian comes
from hard times. And we’re not talking no cell phone tough. I mean no money-eating-
scraps-wearing-hand-me-downs-from-thrift-stores tough. And we thought we had it
tough. Adrian has gone through parts of his life not knowing how his father is, how he’s
doing, what could be possibly happening to him. Not only that, he’s lost two family
November 10, 2008
members that he revered. He grew up with a strong work ethic. He started working out at
a young age, but not with any equipment we have at the gym, but with milk cartons filled
with sand and a tree branch. He found anything that could possibly turn into a workout
and used it, including running away from his grandma’s vicious dog. When he had taken
a trip to Oklahoma University, the home of the Crimson and Crème Sooners, he had
found people with the same work ethic and the same dedication that he had. And he
instantly found himself at home. To me, even his flaw inspires me. He truly is the
advocate of hard work.
In all of the TV stars you see on movies, in Hollywood nowadays, Adrian stands
out from them all. Why? He is a real hero. He doesn’t take on the role of somebody else.
He stands true to himself; he represents himself and his family. And he’ll never forget
what he had to go through to get to where he is. He will never be ungrateful for it. And
every day of his life, he thanks god for the gift he receives. In my opinion, Adrian
Peterson deserves to be hero. He shows bravery, compassion for his men, and courage. If
he had existed in the days of the Greek, I strongly believe they would have an epic of him
instead of Odysseus right now.