How My Hero Found Me

Vinny Buono, Senior Staff Writer

When somebody comes to help you in a difficult time or saves your life you call them a hero. When you think of a hero it’s not just some fictional character in a movie. Heroes can be anyone from firemen to police officers to people serving in the army. A hero is somebody who helps people in the time of need. Most people can tell when somebody is physically stronger than them or has more ability, but a hero could also be someone who goes unnoticed in the public eye.

Baseball is my father’s favorite sport so it only made sense that I would end up loving the sport too. I started playing baseball when I was five years old. I played on a lot of different teams with all kinds of coaches, from coaches that sat back and quietly observed to coaches that started yelling the second you hit the field until the last pitch was thrown. It was when I was playing for a team called the Titans and we played a team called the Dragons that things changed for me, both on and off the field.

I had seen the Dragons coach before but did not know a lot about him. He did not yell a lot during the game but he was very animated, like he was part of every play on the field. I remember watching him and thinking how much he must love the game of baseball because of how intense and happy he was during every play.

We won that game. After the game was over, I saw him go over and start talking to my father. I had no idea that he had been watching me during the game and was talking to my father about me becoming a Dragon. I was only twelve and played baseball just because it was fun, not because I wanted to have a future in baseball.

That day and that conversation changed my life. Someone other than my parents would come to care about me, push me and help me as if I was his own son. At the time I was going to a large public high school and kind of just getting lost in the mix. The Dragons coach, Neil, helped me to get into a private school that offered not only athletic but academic opportunities I would never get where I was; but more than that he cared about me. He cares about me as if I were his own son. He and his family treat me like family.

He put me before himself. He changed my life not because he wanted a reward or for people to think he is a great person. He changed my life because he knew he had the ability to change lives and help people less fortunate than him. He wanted to do the right thing.

That is what a hero is all about. Coach Neil is a role model. He is somebody I can look up to, someone who I can aspire to be one day. He has these special qualities that make him who he is. He didn’t use his gifts for reward or recognition. He is a great human being.

My hero is someone who I want to be not because of physical abilities or popularity, but because they do the right thing all the time, knowing there is no reward. All they know is that they are changing lives in the best way possible.