Just about everything Joe Posnanski writes is good. We’re luck that so much of it is great, too.
He’s written many times about his hero, Duane Kuiper, over the years. His latest effort, centered around a trip to San Francisco for Kuiper’s bobblehead day, is one of his best ever.
…And I have seen my friends crushed after finally meeting the sports star at the center of their childhood, and this is where I’m lucky. My sports hero is Duane Kuiper. A few years ago, he emailed my wife about sending along something. After his identification was confirmed — to this day Duane Kuiper loves that there was someone out there who really thought there might be a Kuiper impersonator out there — he sent me a surprise package.
I always gravitated toward the stars for my sports heroes. Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett came first, followed shortly thereafter by George Brett and Magic Johnson. Eventually Danny Manning and Michael Jordan joined the list before I became too old to have heroes and moved on to favorite players. Each of those is a hall of famer at some level, each among the best to play their games.
What an interesting, and different, perspective to grow up idolizing the bit player rather than the superstar. I can wax poetic about watching each of my heroes as a child. But other than Manning, who still holds a special sway over me, they’re all just old(er) men now, and I’m often well aware of their failures and shortcomings in the rest of their lives. My love for them was always shared with thousands of other little boys and girls who lived and died with their wins and losses.
You can never say someone, especially a kid, is right or wrong for choosing their idols. I sure don’t have the feelings for my heroes from the 1970s and 1980s that Poz has for his favorite player. It’s a wonderful thing that he shares that with the rest of us.