These are people who I have spent many years looking up at. Some folks might think it is a kind of blasphemy to have earthly heroes. In other words, what person can possibly not fall short of who we really should be looking at for inspiration and guidance. I don’t know. I’m a bit torn. I truly have heart-felt emotions toward or about these people, and I don’t think those emotions are suspect or shallow. I also have to confess that I frequently look for more people to inspire me, help me, show me the way, or just live a just and peaceable life. I’m so far from perfect that finding a person who is doing some things right can be a very positive boost that helps me believe it is possible to do better. I’ll add to this page from time to time and these are not in any particular order.

Dan Marino: Ah… Dan the Man! You might be surprised to learn why I like Dan Marino so much. Although, like many people, I first noticed him for his superior quarterback skills, lightning fast hair-trigger release, and of course, his many come-from-behind games during his 17 years with the Miami Dolphins, I formed a much bigger attachment to him for at least three other reasons.

First, Dan excelled at taking fault for losses. I don’t remember a single post-game interview where he ever blamed his receivers (although they were clearly at fault at times) or any other circumstances (weather, superior opposing defenses, etc). He always put the blame squarely on his shoulders. Through this, he communicated to me that champions don’t make excuses. They find ways to overcome. The question he always seemed to ask himself is “What could I have done better?”. That has stayed with me many years. I remember a brief incident that wasn’t reported much in the news in which Dan was driving his SUV and looked down to get his coffee and rear-ended someone in their car. He came out and apologized and took the blame for the incident. How many other “celebrities” would have immediately gone into “lawyer mode”, worrying about getting sued? Dan just owned up to the mishap, even at the risk of personal expense. The driver of the other vehicle reported that he was impressed with Dan’s down-to-earth approach and his honesty.

Second, Dan showed us all about commitment. Despite every setback and not being a Florida native, when he was drafted to the Dolphins in 1983, he continually made the decision to stay in Miami and stay with a football team that didn’t always give him the best opportunity to get a Super Bowl ring. To this day, he maintains his commitment to South Florida and is an established business owner in that area. Contrast this with how many people continually feed on the next big opportunity, don’t stay in their community, and move their family all around pursuing the American dream. Dan made a commitment not only to his team, but also to his community. That’s very rare these days. Dan has given back greatly to the community of South Florida. He has helped build hospitals, created a fund for children with autism (due to his son Michael being diagnosed), and helped out in many community projects, even after his retirement from professional football.

Last, Dan is a solid family man. He has been married to the same woman, Claire, since 1985 (after he become a pro-quarterback), and has six children, one of whom is adopted, and one who was diagnosed as autistic. He doesn’t drive football into his children’s heads, and even invited his oldest son to introduce him when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite his oldest son not being terribly interested in football. Dan puts his family first above all his interests. This seems to be a rare quality, especially for athletes, celebrities, and “rich” folks, but maybe that is because all the media reports on is the scandals, divorces, and abuse that goes on with some of that crowd. For me, Dan is a model. I know that even if I had his superior athletic skill, I would not have been as successful as he has been in life. That is why he is my hero.

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