Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Hear It for Heroes by Andy Scheer



I'm old-fashioned. I desperately miss hymns in church. I don't own a smart phone (let alone an “app” for one). I still listen to LPs, and I even read books printed on paper.

And I like to read books with heroes. Not just protagonists, but the kind of POV characters that as a kid we called “good guys.” (Remember them?)

Maybe that's why my shelves are filled with various genres of action-packed novels. I love to experience adventure vicariously: on deck with Dudley Pope's Nicholas Ramage of the British Navy, in the saddle with Stephen Bly's Stuart Brannon, racing a 1904 Locomobile with Clive Cussler's Isaac Bell, or exploring an underground river with his Dirk Pitt.

And not just experience these heroes' adventures, but also their virtues. Yes, in the best of these stories, the heroes are human. They face doubts and setbacks. But with integrity, they persevere.

And because they do, more than just their fictional settings and associates come out ahead. I believe their readers do too. In a world splashed with bad news and scandals, we need heroes—people we can respect and from whom we can draw inspiration as we face our own mundane battles.

Are we too sophisticated for heroes today? I don't think so. Though I'm not much of a sports fan, I remained fixed to the screen for several hours this past Sunday as I watched the latest installment of “The Adventures of Tim Tebow—Football Hero.” In a sport plagued by stars who've succumbed to the world, the flesh, and the devil, here's a genuine hero who by the grace of God has stayed true to those values that remain long after the players leave the field.

The amount of ink and airtime devoted on Monday to the storylines behind the game show me that sportscasters—and the public—still know the power of a gripping story. Especially a story with a hero. Maybe some are cynics hoping to see him fall. But whether in real life or in fiction, I believe many of us still long to see a good guy win.

14 comments:

Timothy Fish said...

I agree. I love a story with a good hero.

Linda Glaz said...

Oh, amen. And I have to admit to wanting the Broncos to win more than the Lions this year. Men of courage NEED to stand up and authors need to put them to paper.

Cathy Shouse said...

It's always fun to have someone to cheer for and have a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader come to mind. A hero on a mission, like Indiana Jones, always draws me in. The heroes with flaws, like being scared of snakes, are the best.

Diana said...

OK Andy and commenter's, as a die hard Steeler fan I have to remind you, there are believers on both teams. :-)
Football aside, I too love inspirational stories that inspire me to push beyond my limits and nothing does that but a story with strong ordinary heros.

Timothy Fish said...

Linda,
The theme of my WIP deals with that very issue. (Not the the authors but the men of courage.) It is by far the most difficult novel I've ever attempted to write.

Kathryn Elliott said...

Although I’m a sucker for big, strong hero types, I have to say the common-man-triumphing-over-evil always gets me. When Mr. Smith went to Washington, I was convinced Jimmy Stewart was the perfect man.

Writing Jo Lawler said...

Amen! I grew up reading Louis L'Amour novels - what incredibly delicious manly characters.

I've seen so many so-called good guys hamstrung by situational ethics in contemporary novels. I truly believe that there are real people, being raised by real parents with real morals. That's who I want readers to look up to in my stories. They will always have a positive effect on other characters in the end, even if they make mistakes and the ride gets a little bumpy along the way.

Terry Burns said...

I have the full set of L'Amour novels in leather. Love them, but my all time hero for real has always been Roy Rogers. A fine, Christian gentleman who cared more about being a role model for kids than he cared about being a movie star. He was the real deal. We need more highly visible people who take their responsibility as role models seriously.

Andy Scheer said...

And Dale was no slouch, either. "Good guys," in real life and in fiction, come in both genders.

Terry Burns said...

Indeed she was - but I idolized Roy as a boy and never got over my admiration for him.

Timothy Fish said...

Andy,
I wouldn’t want to take anything away from the “good guys” of the female gender, but I have some real concerns about the way men are portrayed today. I think it is such an important issue that it won’t hurt us to focus on just the guys for a change.

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, Diana, and the picture of the two teams praying together was wonderful. THERE are the true heroes. Both sides, one God. And, Kathy, I love flawed heroes. They're the best!

Linda Glaz said...

I had to laugh, Tim. I know right where you're coming from. That swing in the sixties to make the male look like a bumbling idiot still gnaws at me to this day. Not that he isn't out there, but not every male in every sitcom on every channel had to be a bumbling boob! And not every woman has to be just shy of a genius with all the common sense of Gandhi. I hear your frustration. And Terry, I'll have to dig out my pic of me in a cowgirl outfit being held by the Range Rider. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. You hafta' love a cowboy hero!

Rick Barry said...

I'm a bit late jumping into the discussion, but I'm in Eastern Europe and not able to find good wifi everplace I go. However, wanted to add that I'm a sucker for a good hero story too. The power of story is immense, and when the leading character is a man (or woman) of integrity, the story presents a positive role model while entertaining. (I was a Superman fan from a very young age.)