If you are like me, you assumed Superman disappeared from the face of the Earth six-years-ago with the untimely and tragic passing of actor Christopher Reeve. At least that’s what I chose to believe until the other day. Like millions of other football fans, I was glued to the flat screen eating hot wings and other fat-infested snacks when the Man of Steel appeared before me. Was it a bird, a plane, Michael Vick? The man who had so unceremoniously fallen from public grace after spending nearly two years in prison for bankrolling a dog fighting operation was back in rare form. I sat in amazement, watching his green cape flap through the wind. I smiled, as the now starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, managed to dodge the defense in a single bound. America’s superhero was back. The question is, for how long?
Walking the tight rope of super heroism is no easy task. Yet it’s an honor we bestow on so many of our professional athletes. We don’t expect them to be well educated, well spoken, or well versed on Worldly events. But we do expect them to perform to near perfection and to be role models for our children. And when those nasty indiscretions—that seem to plague all superheroes come to fruition—we simply turn our backs and search for a replacement.
Cleveland is still searching for someone to replace LeBron James. In this case, pride and ambition became Superman’s kryptonite. In a matter of seconds, the basketball hero from Ohio became the most despised man in America. Fans burned his jerseys and used his name in vain. How could James announce his decision to leave the mere mortals of C-Town on live television? Forget the fact the broadcast on ESPN raised money for charity or that James lost 40-million dollars by choosing to play for the Miami Heat. We even chose to over look the fact James was a free agent at the time of his decision.
And then there’s Tiger Woods—arguably the greatest golfer to play the game. Yes, he lost some fans 15-years-ago when he declared he was not Black but Cablinasian. Others were turned off by his sheer confidence and arrogance on the course. But it is hard to deny the amazing talent of this Nike caped crusader whose golf swing truly appears faster than a speeding bullet. So how did Superman fall from grace? Simply put, you cannot fight for truth, justice and the American way when you have a harem of women, none of whom is your wife. If only Woods had used his x-ray vision he could have foreseen this impending disaster.
The truth is we want our superheroes to be seen and not heard—to shield us from their imperfections. Is Michael Vick the next Superman? As long as he performs well against strong teams like the Bears, the answer is yes. As long as he remains humble and remembers why he was put on this Earth—to serve us— he’ll continue to have our support. As for me, I’m still searching for Superman. I have to believe a God-fearing superhero, with a strong moral compass, is out there waiting to be discovered. I just hope he comes in time to save our planet.