Home Elliot Kalb Riffs Heroes, some anniversaries, and The Right Stuff

Heroes, some anniversaries, and The Right Stuff


A lot was made earlier this week about Tom Brady—at 43—becoming the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Now, he’s setting records in a team sport that will last for decades. But a hero can be admired for more than personal achievements. A hero can have noble qualities, maybe serve his country. At the least, you know, in modern times, he could wear a friggin mask in a pandemic. Yes, my standards have lowered, you might say.

Maybe my idea of a hero is impossible to reach these days. On February 9, 1971—a half-century ago this week—I was nine years old and Apollo 14 touched down. Of all the landmark milestones that happened on the date February 9, Apollo 14 got the short end of the publicity stick. I read about the 50-year anniversary of the Sylmar earthquake in Los Angeles (more on that in a bit); the 78-year old anniversary of the official end of the Battle of Quadalcanal; also in 1964 on that date the Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show (it didn’t mean anything to me as a toddler, but it greatly influenced a young Bruce Springsteen in Jersey; and a young Billy Joel in Long Island). And in the world of sports, on February 9, 1992; Magic Johnson played in the NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, just three months after retiring due to contracting HIV. I was courtside, trust me, it was a very big deal. Some of the other stars in the game (Karl Malone most noteworthy) expressed concern over Magic being a health risk to others).

Come to think of it, Magic was a real hero that day himself, the 25 points notwithstanding.

Read the full article on Ellliot’s substack page

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