Why the World Needs More Heroes

The other week I went to see Superman Returns. I really liked the movie, even though I tend to like superheroes portrayed with lots of dark inner pain, like Batman or Spiderman. Superman tends to be more Mr. Do-Good. Still I enjoyed it more than I thought.
In the movie, Superman disappears for many years to visit his destroyed home world, Krypton. Lois Lane, his love at that time, apparently got no explanation for his departure and in a bitter fit, writes a Pulitzer winning piece entitled, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”.
But yet, the movie shows that the world does need Superman. Superman notes that with his super hearing, he hears the cries for hope and a savior from millions, and that world needs a hero and someone to look up to. Of course, the movie trumpets his homecoming as he saves the world yet again.
After watching Superman Returns, I started watching the Tour De France. I started watching a few stages of the Tour on Tivo but soon felt very uninvolved and, quite frankly, bored. I searched inside for why this could be, as I really enjoyed watching in previous years due to my involvement in bicycle racing and triathlon. It basically boiled down to this: Lance wasn’t there.
For the last 7 years, Lance has been the guy to beat. He has beaten cancer, fought his way back to health and superstar status as a cyclist. His drive is motivating; his commitment to cancer research, admirable. Every year we’ve watched Lance and wondered if he would take the yellow jersey again and he would do it again, despite the other riders seeking to dethrone him. Even the French tried to discredit him with constant allegations of doping. Through all this, we’ve prayed and hoped for Lance to win again and he does.
Without our hero, the Tour De France somehow becomes that much less interesting.
It just goes to show that the world needs more heroes. These are people you look up to, the people you model yourself after, the people who give you hope. Yes they do have weaknesses: Superman has his Krytonite and Lance has doping scandals and constant tabloid writings of his comings and goings. But we accept those as very human traits so we know that despite their specialness, they are still one of us.
We need more people to look up to. It gives us something to strive for, gives us a reason to be better than we are today. Without our heroes, the world would be a much less motivating place.