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Changing concepts of a 'hero'


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:14

Friends - this troubles me. I have just been asked to write a piece on a driver as part of a major feature on racing 'Heroes'. I hesitated, on the basis that I have never seen any evidence that the guy in question was particularly heroic, or performed a truly heroic racing deed, as opposed to being both very talented, and a nice chap too. The commissioning editor seemed aghast at my hesitation, on the following basis: "Oh no! Don't disappoint me. He's always been my image of the perfect Hero, with the flares, the sideburns, the dark glasses...".

Gentlemen, am I missing something here? Am I even further down the road of old fartism than I ever suspected? Or is 'style' the arbiter of who is, or is not, a relatively modern hero?

DCN

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:16

Don't be too hard on a driver who has let is team mate win... that does take courage!

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:20

JYS presumably .... :)

#4 Buford

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:26

No I don't think of racing drivers as heroes. I did when I was a kid. But after being one to some degree for over a decade, I understood what egotistical, mentally unbalanced twerps most of us were. However there are certainly heroic acts performed by drivers. I would write about issues we have recently discussed on this forum. David Purley at Zanvoort, Hunt and Depallier at Monza, the guys who rescued Lauda etc.

#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:27

Vitesse - No - mile off. The personality doesn't in fact matter - it's the basic parameter of judgement that troubles me. He didn't drag anyone out of a burning car - he didn't win a race in fog and rain and sleet with one arm in plaster - he didn't dominate a race round Monte Carlo with rear brakes inoperative throughout - he didn't cover a thousand miles on public roads at nearly 100mph average - he didn't blow the doors off everybody else on a circuit fraught with perils - he wore flares, shades and sideburns, so he's a hero?

DCN

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:34

Sorry - I was being flippant and the description seemed to fit! Just another manifestation of the current fashion for style over substance I guess. A bit New Labour really ...

#7 masterhit

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:43

Yeah, that really says a lot of the downside of contemporary Formula One, doesn't it? On the flipside of the looks versus content thing that you just mentioned, it reminds me of a journalist's quote about being asked to meet Mario Andretti - "Would I like to meet him? I'd gladly lick his boots for half an hour!" Definite "real deal" driver is Mr Andretti!

#8 2F-001

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:45

Emerson?
(A little harsh though...)

No, I respect your comment Doug - that the identity is not pertinent to your point.
But it doesn't stop us guessing!

#9 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:53

I think we confuse heroric with something we'd like to be? You know? 10 guys out of 9 either want to be a pro sportsman or a rock star, but those jobs arent very heroic. Like Buford said, the typical racing driver is a bit of a freak. It seems especially in the modern era, and at my level, there's an inverse relationship between natural ability and maturity/pleasantness

#10 fines

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 21:53

A hero? That's just a guy you look up to, someone doing something you always wanted to do, but didn't. Everyone can have a hero of his own, and it doesn't matter for what or why.

Btw, the German word for "hero" has become a bit of a derogatory term lately...

#11 Buford

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:10

Anyone stupid enough to strap themselves into a screaming projectile, risk their precious life, and actually think they can do it better than anybody, let alone everybody else in the world, is not a mentally well adjusted individual. In fact, only one guy in the world who thinks that can be right. People who race cars are spoiled children, self-centered jerks who crave instant gratification, and constant assurance they are real men and not pussies like so many people around them. Driving race cars comes from deep seated insecurity. The same insecurity everybody has, but in racing, there is an outlet to overcome the insecurities and show the world what a "real man" you are.

Am I saying race car drivers are "sick". No, just not as well adjusted to the human condition as "normal" people are. The perfect example of the race driver insecurity was one time when someone asked Mario Andretti why he kept on racing after he had won just about everything possible to win. He replied, "So nobody can say it was a fluke."

When I was racing I knew all this. But the rush from flying like the wind, and in my day, constantly risking violent death, was way too powerful to stop. I valued that rush more than life itself. And I never feared death. I feared running out of money or sponsors so I would be knocked out of the game and have to be an everyday street mope like everybody else. The threat of not racing to me was worse than the threat of death. Risking it all was life. Being normal was death in a slow way.

I have been out of the cockpit for 15 years now. Have I changed my opinion? No. I was right before. It is a slow death. But that is not well adjusted and that is not normal. Racers are not normal and they are not heroic. They are spoiled children requiring a constant endorphan fix and reassurance they are NOT just like everybody else. I hate being like everybody else, and that is not "normal".

#12 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:13

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....I have never seen any evidence that the guy in question was particularly heroic, or performed a truly heroic racing deed, as opposed to being both very talented, and a nice chap too.....

Doug- I accept your judgement. I might not agree with it but that's another matter. :)

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:17

While I had been a racing driver I had often said to audiences during speeches and talks: 'You know the risks, you accept them. If a man can't look at danger and still go on, man has stopped living. If the worst ever happens - then it means simply that I've been asked to pay the bill for the happiness of my life - without a moment's regret.'



#14 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:25

I think what Doug is refering to is the word hero, and my Webster has it as:

1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities
2. any person who has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
3. the principal male character in a play, story, film, etc
...

But nowdays people seem to interpret the word in sense 2, albeit slightly modified so it looks like this:

2. any person who [striketrough]has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and[/striketrough] is regarded as a model or ideal

And yes, Doug his argument was superficial, to say the least... I can understand one confusing a driver for a hero because of his brave and skilled performances, but "perfect Hero, with the flares, the sideburns, the dark glasses..." is way too shallow.

P.S. But I don't know whether You should be worried about me agreeing with You- I've been called an old fart (despite being in early thirties) way to often... :

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:34

Wolf :clap:

You have defined precisely why people call David Beckham a hero. And if anyone could be considered shallow, he can ....

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:43

And Roy Keane too ... according to an interview on TV right now, he too is a hero! :o

#17 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:48

Do I see the pattern here Richard? Are You going to tell us Wes Brown isn't hero next? :lol:

As for Your JYS nomination: I think the safety campaign he started took a good deal of courage (I imagine many people thought he was a 'coward' and was spoiling the Sport with it).

#18 AlesiUK

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 22:56

it is a very interesting point,i here some people say that all the guys out there are "heroes" just because they go out an put there lives at risk every fortnite all in the name of sport.Well what about all the fireman(just 1 example) who go out each day and put there lives at serious risk all in the name of saving others.those are the real heroes.

We should remember that f1 drivers are paid massive amounts of money to race,think of what your average fireman is paid.F1 racing is statisticaly less dangerous than horse riding.

Maybe the real heroes at a gp are those who help to save the drivers lifes,the marshalls medical crews and doctors(special mention for sid!).these ppl have saved countless lifes over the years and-as we have seen all to clearly in recent times,they are puting there lifes at risk for others.

But then i guess it is all down to your definiton of hero isnt it?i am going to totally contradic myself here(nothing new there ;) ).

I have always considered Jean Alesi as one of my heroe's,now he has never pulled anyone from a burning car or anything like but he is my "hero".i bore you with the reason's but i guess my point is that if he is my heroe,then he is "hero".Same could be said of just about any f1 driver past or present.they all had ppl who considered them there hero.even guys llike de chesaris who had no success were sum ones hero.

#19 dretceterini

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 23:35

I currently live in the capital of style over substance, known as Los Angeles. Personally, I think most racing drivers are nothing more than egomaniacs; some of which, on rare occassion, perform a heroic cat. I deplore the attitude that winning is everything. There is no such ting as sport anymore. Even the Olympics have become a show. Maybe it wasn't really better 50 yars ago, but it certainly seems that it was.

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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 23:38

Forgive my ignorance but who is Wes Brown? :confused:

#21 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 23:41

Richard- 'tis another Man. U. player (defender, who actually can't play, unlike Beckham and Keane)...

#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 23:45

Originally posted by AlesiUK
We should remember that f1 drivers are paid massive amounts of money to race,think of what your average fireman is paid.F1 racing is statisticaly less dangerous than horse riding.

Maybe the real heroes at a gp are those who help to save the drivers lifes,the marshalls medical crews and doctors(special mention for sid!).these ppl have saved countless lifes over the years and-as we have seen all to clearly in recent times,they are puting there lifes at risk for others.

But then i guess it is all down to your definiton of hero isnt it?


Hear hear!! :up:

#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2002 - 23:48

Originally posted by Wolf
Richard- 'tis another Man. U. player (defender, who actually can't play, unlike Beckham and Keane)...


Oh ...football ... :yawn: :yawn: ....zzzzzzzzz

#24 FucF1

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 00:04

"Hero" is one of the most overused words in the modern world, along with "love", and they've become totally devalued because of it.

#25 Gerr

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:21

I would think that the journalist who refuses to write something he does not believe to be true could be considered a hero. The editor is wrong. You know it. Don't do it.

#26 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:26

Well Jean Alesi didn't save anyone from a fire but he managed to get a seventh at Monaco's grid in a Prost, hey for me that's heroic, plus the guy really drives.
The problem is with modern marketing anybody is a hero, all food stuff is delicious, and all the new housing developments anywhere, even in the worst neighbourhoosd have names as The Manor or Hampton View or something. It is the modern world and the term heroes has just been abused.
But if the publisher has this guy as a hero, well, he'll find someone to write about the man and tell us how heroic he was, so it is either you Doug telling it like it is or some panegiric from someone else. Hard choice.
And my guess is Jody Scheckter, not particularly heoric but had great sideburns. :)

#27 lynmeredith

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:43

Doug et al. I do think the term 'hero' is freqently mis-used nowadays and I am often irritated to read that so-and-so is a hero because he scored the winning goal etc. A few years ago an enormous recovery operation was staged for a round-the-world yachtsman who had got himself into trouble in the antarctic seas. Australian navy and civilian ships were sent to rescue this type who was found in his up-turned boat, alive in an air-pocket. He was universally acclaimed a hero by the Australian media. But all that happened was he stayed alive. By all reports he was quite inept in the first place and was asking for trouble and got it. The real heroes were those who risked their lives to rescue him. He was just a dill.

Someone mentioned firemen; agreed, they put their lives at risk to save others. There are many similar instances. My grandfather was a hero (in my opinion) when he rescued two wounded mates under fire during the First World War. But when I asked Grand-dad about it he said he was just a damn fool who acted without thinking. It was only later that he realised he could have been killed. But he was rightly proud of his Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Certainly a driver who rescues an other from a blazing car is acting heroically (and possibly foolishly, like grand-dad) by my definition.

But I've just looked up 'hero' in one of my dictionaries and this is one definition; any person whose character, reputation, exploits and personality strike the imagination and cause one to regard him as the ideal of manly virtue . So that may well satisfy the editor's definition. How sad. Who was that fellow on British TV. Old fart. "Isn't it bloody marvellous". Me too.

("flares, the sideburns, the dark glasses...". Sounds like me in 1975!)

LDM (end of rant)

#28 lynmeredith

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 02:29

Originally posted by fines
Btw, the German word for "hero" has become a bit of a derogatory term lately...


Why is that Michael? 'Held' isn't it?

Lyn M

#29 MarkWill

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 03:20

Doug,

You said it yourself, there ar two types of heros - the modern ones and the old ones. A modern, or contemporary, hero doesn't have to stand the acid test of time and be judged by classical standards of heroism (which, as Lyn M.pointed out, often means a person who had a mixture of rash foolishness and blind good fortune). To be a modern hero you only have to have stood out from the crowd. Todays battle isn't necessarily against physical elements - the words "hero" and "idol" are interchangeable, and by modern standards if the person in question was somebody's idol, it goes without saying that he was also a hero (in the sense that you can hero-worship someone , which really means you idolize them).

All this to say that nevertheless I think your commissioning editor is too hip - you're writing a history book, not a teen-pop article.

#30 fullcourseyellow

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 03:32

Originally posted by FucF1
"Hero" is one of the most overused words in the modern world, along with "love", and they've become totally devalued because of it.


Agreed. :up:

None of the racing drivers can be considered "heroes". They are paid too much money to drive as quickly as possible in circles. Also, they are only doing what they love and satisfying their own egos. I'd say they are sportsmen, entertainers, but definitely not heroes.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 04:12

Originally posted by fullcourseyellow
None of the racing drivers can be considered "heroes". They are paid too much money to drive as quickly as possible in circles. Also, they are only doing what they love and satisfying their own egos. I'd say they are sportsmen, entertainers, but definitely not heroes.


Events Lyn could relate to...

Niel Allen chasing Frank Matich at Catalina in 1970 (in the old Elfin) was a hero...

Bevan Gibson chasing Frank Matich at Bathurst in 1969 in a similar old Elfin was being heroic, but, as can ultimately concluded when all the facts are known, foolish as well.

I wouldn't think they are really 'entertainers'... not if they are also satisfying their egos, at least.

#32 ehagar

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 04:33

The word 'hero' seems often abused to me.... It seems even victims get the hero tag these days...

To me a hero is:

1) Someone who does something substantial
2) There must be some element of personal risk that has to be met head on
3) The person should place principles and loyalty above personal gain

I suppose other things that might make someone a hero is someone 'doing it alone', perhaps taking a stance that is unpopular or considered wrong at the time. Civil rights leaders perhaps?

#33 marhal

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 07:07

Doug: I think if you don´t want to write about a driver, simply, don`t.................


For me a F1 hero must to:

Race from 1950 to 1980.
Raced in the same season: The normal F1 schedule, plus Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Le Mans, etc.
To be a loyal rival.
To be an authentic man.



For me the last F-1 hero was Niki Lauda. Today, the driver are only "racing executives". :drunk:

#34 Jim Thurman

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 08:33

Sounds more like this driver was a hero only in "style" and perhaps fashion. And I suppose that's up for debate how truly heroic one can be in fashion or style.

No, Doug, it isn't "old fartism". I concur completely with your definition (and others have brought up good points in this thread along those lines as well).

It also sounds to me like the editor has confused "hero" with idol. This driver seems to have been an idol of his. Were it me, I would either follow my conscience and turn down the offer...or, go ahead and write it based on the driver being an "idol" instead of a "hero" (does that make sense?). Perhaps this driver's racing exploits and apparent fashion sense would be enough would satisfy the editor and still keep the old integrity intact.

For that matter, several NASCAR drivers of the 70's would come close to fitting this fashion definition. Petty (Richard) wore the shades, so some other drivers did too. Sideburns...absolutely, bellbottoms...some.

And if it's flared trousers (bellbottoms), sideburns and shades that are the definition...then I've been around a lot of heroes :D You know, I never realized how heroic some of my older brother's friends were :D


Jim Thurman - who did have a couple of pairs of bellbottoms, rarely wore shades (never fashionably conscious ones) and was a bit too young in that era to have had sideburns :D

#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 09:58

Thank you all for your thoughts. Quite cheered me up it has. Seems like a generational thing. I would count Alesi as a hero - for which read likable nutcase - and to me Hakkinen is a hero - coming back literally from the dead. JYS's safety campaigns would never have had credence if he had not performed the truly heroic deeds he did perform, putting all his peers but one squarely in the shade. Lauda qualifies as a hero for pretty obvious reasons. Andretti has gongs all over him, and then we get into the realms of the oldies, wrinklies and there seems to be a fair concensus concerning most of them?
DCN

#36 RDV

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 10:26

No I don't think of racing drivers as heroes. I did when I was a kid. But after being one to some degree for over a decade, I understood what egotistical, mentally unbalanced twerps most of us were. However there are certainly heroic acts performed by drivers. I would write about issues we have recently discussed on this forum. David Purley at Zanvoort, Hunt and Depallier at Monza, the guys who rescued Lauda etc.


is right, I will only change the qualification of twerps, the new generation of drivers are much more balanced, having studied and worked much harder than the "twerp" generation before them, the average racing driver today starts@ 6 or 7 years old on karts, and is groomed for professionalism by his parents (like tennis or any other high level sports) from a very early age. Most of them have parents who have raced themselves, (usually not successfully), the question of "hero" doesnft even occur to them, as this is a highly professional money earning career, if anything I would question the parents motives.

Just as no man is a hero to his valet (this dates me), no driver is a hero to his team except as a performer.

The most successful drivers (IE WC`s) are a nasty, self centered egoistical bunch of bastards (sorry to spoil some preconceptions there...), who succeed because of sheer unrelenting push to assert themselves by any means, which of course is what teams need to win races and championships....

There are , luckily a couple of exceptions , but they only confirm the rule.
There lies the peril of hero worship..... Admire their skill and ability, yes, but donft get too taken away.... they do this sport for their own pleasure or needs, heroes are another definition. Spot on Buford, but as they say it takes one to know one.....

#37 Buford

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 10:48

Yeah it does take one to really understand and I am surprised what I said has brought little controversy. Saying similar things on Speednet among the hero worshipers brought much angst and death threats. I do have to say though that I started at age 7 too, in Quarter Midgets and my brother started at 3 1/2. But it wasn't because my parents wanted us to be racers when we grew up. It came with a promise we would not. But when I finally turned 21 I considered a promise I made under duress at 7 years old was not enforceable.

Still I had to hide my racing from my parents for the first two years. But winning two championships in those first two years kind of blew my cover. Since they could not argue with success, they decided to come and enjoyed it. But they did not want their sons to be race drivers. The Quarter Midgets were an advertising stunt for their stock car team. An intermission show at the stock car races. It was the baby team. We had the first Quarter Midgets in the Midwest in the 1950s. Within a year there were a couple dozen more and we started racing them instead of putting on exhibitions.

#38 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 10:54

No takers on the anonymous quote then? ^^^ I thought it might provoke some interest in the context of what Buford wrote - it's actually from a World Champion .... one who would qualify as a hero by most of the classic definitions above and one or two more (but if I told you it would be too easy to guess!)

#39 Buford

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 10:59

I didn't comment on it because I have no idea. It is not a quote I have ever heard before. I am glad though that a World Champion said something similar to what I said. I was just a little 2nd rank poverty stricken racer who almost made the big time several times but the deals always fell through. So a World Champion saying something similar to what I felt is cool. But I don't know who it was.

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#40 eldougo

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 11:40

No I don't think of racing drivers as heroes. I did when I was a kid. But after being one to some degree for over a decade, I understood what egotistical, metally unbalanced twerps most of us were



HOW TRUE! :mad:

#41 Don Capps

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 12:12

I think the term "hero" has now become something of a generational and cultural litmus test of some sort. There is some wiggle room in the first two definitions for hero that I have on my desk:

"1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and heroic qualities. 2. a man who is regarded as having heroic qualities and is considered a model or ideal."

Once we look at "heroic," then it gets even more interesting:

"3. having or displaying the character or attributes of a hero; extraordinarily bold, altruistic, determined, etc."

However, few racing drivers are "heroes" in my book and certainly not for their racing exploits (Hailwood and Purley, and Lunger & those at the Lauda accident). I have come to loathe the word "hero" when used in conjunction with sports. While is most certainly true that some athletes and sportsmen were/are "heroic" in their actions at times (while well-worn examples, Joe Louis' Jackie Robinson's actions were truly heroic in the social context of the age), the vast, overwhelming majority can not or could not be labelled "heroes" by any stretch of the imagination. Partly this is due to my blinders from my life in the military and partly due to a point Buford and others bring up -- they play games and even get paid for it.

#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 14:02

Yes, Bevan Gibson at Bathurst falls within the defined boundaries of 'heroic'...

Still foolish, but heroic. Maybe that's where 'extraordinarily bold' comes in?

#43 Wolf

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 14:52

Well, I'm not in the best of moods today, so you'll excuse my small digression about heroes. As Dmj can testify to it, I come from a nation that doesn't need heroes and indeed it has none. I've posted in Paddock Club about the Battle of Vukovar (in '91, so not all that long ago), and I'll use it as most striking example. Civillian population of the town that did not flee, suffered, during 86 day siege, some 2,500 artillery shells landing on the town every day. If their perseverence wasn't heroic enough, the resistance to the overwhelming invading hordes which its 1,800 defenders made was unfathomable to say the least (as anyone who visited that thread in PC will know)... Did any of those pepole even get a medal- hell, no. Because it would prevent the people who are real heroes of the war, namely politicians and clerks, getting the credit they thought to deserve. Now those people have become thorn in everybody's side; not because they want to, but because everybody sees threat to his 'position'in them, or just sees what he wasn't and maybe should have been.

So, I guess I'm not particularly stricken with heroes 'by fashion' when I have to see real heroes trodden upon and victimized on daily basis... Sorry about this rant, but you know me... :

BTW, Buford, You may have phrased Your opinion a bit too harshly, but You are basically right. Any man who will risk his life just to prove he can drive motor-car faster than the next bloke isn't exactly straight in the head. OTOH, if it's calling rather than profession (and I'm not thinking here of St. Thumper's self proclaimed 'being programmed to win')- as Moss said it 'What's the point in living if one's not able to do at least one thing?'

#44 Leif Snellman

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 14:59

Originally posted by Doug Nye
He's always been my image of the perfect Hero, with the flares, the sideburns, the dark glasses...".

Doug, I think you did right to hesitate. Wearing dark glasses could possibly be called "macho" with hardly "heroic" :D And being a racing driver doesnt automatically making someone a hero . To me REAL heros are guys like Purley (Zandvoort 1973) or Merzario (The Ring 1976).

#45 bergwerk

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 16:44

Originally posted by Don Capps

I think the term "hero" has now become something of a generational and cultural litmus test of some sort.


Quite true.

For a generation that has not been exposed to true war, famine, economic depression and other assorted breeding grounds of heroic deeds, it is easy to adopt various sports and show personalities as their heroes.

The real article is often not glamorous and doesn't take victory laps.

#46 FucF1

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 18:39

Ahem...*cough*....what "generation"?

I'm 23 and its damn clear in my mind what constitutes a hero and what doesn't.

#47 Zmeej

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 19:31

Gerr :up:

#48 Wolf

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 19:42

Fuc- I guess You have the same problem as I do; body ages in normal manner, and mind in dog's years... :lol:

#49 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 21:19

I don not know if they were heroes, but they had BIG guts for sure, and were Gentlemen within the tracks and outside it.

A not so short story about team orders from the book "Juan Manuel Fangio - Motor Racing's grand Master" de Peter Ludvigsen (action took place in 1956) :

"At Monaco Fangio stamped his authority on an elite field of cars with a storming pole position performance. The race was another story. "Fangio was a crazy mixed-up driver that day," said Autosport. His Ferrari was damaged in an early spin while chasing a leading Maserati-mounted Moss and damaged even more when its driver began using all the pavement and more in his furious chase. he brought the car in and at two-thirds distance was given that of Peter Collins, who was then in a string second place. Collins, said Autosport, "was so vexed that he went straight to the hotel and turned his back on the race passing its doors".
Fangio couldn't catch Moss but his second place Monaco finish saw him leading the championship.Nevertheless it has been a messy performance by his standards. "Many people have said it was not Fangio in the car that day" he told Nigel Roebuck,"but they don't know what was going on in the car ! For me it was the fastest way around that track in that car. It may not have been pretty to watch, but it was the quickest way."
He knew a different style would be needed for the high-speed swerves of Spa in June. There in qualifying he was staggering five seconds quicker than the next fastest man, Stirling Moss. Although Stirling was first away at the start, he wrote that "Fangio was all out to rehabilitate himself and win the world championship and passed me at the end of the Masta Straight." The Argentine gained a commanding lead but suffered a transaxle failure at two-thirds distance, letting Peter Collins through to his first win in a championship Grand Prix.

sport cara race at Monza described here. It was before Reims

Hot from this stimualting atmosphere the teams arrived for the French GP at Reims with its daunting high-speed bend at Gueux. In qualifying Denis Jenkinson lent his ear to the sound of Fango's Lancia-Ferrari: "As he went past the pits at nearly 160mph everyone listened for him to lift his foot off the accelerator as he approached the long right-hand curve; the scream of the eight megaphones remained constant until it died away in the distance and everyone, drivers included, paid tribute to the world champion." Eyebrows went sky-high afterward when Juan explained that he was having to hold the shift lever in fifth half way around the curve because it was jumping out of gear !
Like Spa, Reims resulted in mechanical prolems for Fangio while leading, this time a fuel line that sprung a leak. He had not necessarily expected Mercedes-style reliability at Ferrari, but this was beginning to niggle. Fangio thought that he had a solution. "I had always had a mechanic exclusively on my car,"he said, "but Ferrari had a different system. Half way through the season I was able to arrange it and then everything was much better." Cassani was delegated to look after his cars.
An ex-mechanic himself, this was a requirement Juan Manuel understood. "The driver must always have a relationship with his mechanic,"he felt. "He must go to the garage and see what is going on. This one thing which makes a relation between driver and mechanic turn into a friendship. It was this that I found hard to achieve in the Ferrari team. I had been their opposition for so many years and now I was their driver."
It seemed to work. Reliability was in his favour at Silverstone, where Fangio scored his only victory on british soil when the race leader, Moss, retired. At the Nurburgring Fangio's Lancia-Ferrari had the legs of Moss's Maserati in both practice and the race, which Juan led from flag to flag. He was the first of several drivers who broke the lap record Hermann Lang had set in 1939 in the 3-litre supercharged Mercedes. Of the five works Ferraris that started, his was the only one to finish.
Juan Fangio went to the last championship race of the season at Monza with a clear points lead and only a mathematical chance of losing the crown to Moss, Behra or Collins. Wrote Rodney Walkerley, "We think Peter Collins is in the running somewhat to his own surprise and, like other drivers, will be glad if Fangio retains his honours and will be quite content to drive to Ferrari's team orders as usual. At least he has pulled himself out of the junior class where he is expected to hand over his car during a race."
With the Italian Grand Prix being run on the road circuit and the bumpy high-banked combined, durability would be a factor at Monza, and so it proved. Ferrari had problems with both its Englebert tyres and the fragility of its steering arms. Fangio could finish the Mille Miglia with one wheel steering but not a Grand Prix at Monza, as he found before half-distance. After 20 laps he brought his car to the pits. After long repairs Castellotti took it back into the fray.
There was Fangio, standing careless in the pit lane. S stony-faced Musso, hoping to do well on his home ground, ignored him during a tyre change. De Portago had retired his Ferrari early. Juan's only hope of taking the Championship well out if the reach of the leading Moss was Peter Collins, circulating in third place. Collins, for his part, would have to win AND set fastest lap to out point Fangio.
Collins knew what he would do. His bitter emotions over Monaco had been forgotten. Walkerley's assessment had been spot-on. Stopping for tyres on lap 34 Collins made it clear that he expected Fangio to take over his car . Out of the junior class or not, the 25-year old from Kidderminster felt it was too soon for him to be wresting the championship crwon from Fangio. "I was astonished when he handed over his car."said Juan, "but I did not stop to argue. I do not know whether in his place I would have done the same. Collins was the gentleman driver."
In Collins's Ferrari Juan Fangio finished second in the Italian Grand Prix, only six seconds behind a Moss who was lucky to win after an emergency fuel top-up and the retirement of Musso, who led until three laps from the finish.
..." .
Fangio won his 4th World Championship when this race finished.

#50 AlesiUK

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 22:43

"1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and heroic qualities. 2. a man who is regarded as having heroic qualities and is considered a model or ideal."



this is where the problem is,the people i admire for brave deeds and heroic qualities are not likely to be the same as the next guy.i have a friend who would consider DC amongst his hero's.now i dont consider DC to be any of the above,but he does,therefor DC is his hero,what it all boils down to is,as usual,opinion.If i admire someone for brave deeds and heroic qualities(e.g.my grandfather-survived 2 shipwrecks in the war!) then he is,by the above definition a hero.

you may not consider the guy in question a hero(James hunt?) but your editor does,its hus opinion.

as some one said "opinions are like arseholes,everyones got one"