This is a new series – I want to distinguish it from the “Heroes” series because celebrities aren’t usually heroes, just people we admire for successful things they have done.
So I’m going to launch into something that I’ve never explained to anyone until last night, watching the Duke-UNC game: I support celebrities with character, more than a team or famous player or popular star. Or, I support a Catholic celebrity because they are Catholic. Or, I’ll support the guy who seems to be a nice guy. That means I’m gonna go down because of the principle of the thing. I’m gonna probably be cheering for the losing team because they won’t cheat. I’ll cheer for the guy earning the hard hat award instead of all the goals because he keeps his head down and works hard.
I’m going to support the guy that stuck with his family through thick and thin, fame and not. It also means that I have to be forgiving of the people that I like that screw up… and forgive the ones that I just don’t like. Sometimes this means controversy, and that’s OK.Occasionally though, there are superstars that fly under the radar. They can be jerks at times. They can be really successful. They can screw up and ask for forgiveness, all these things. So I’m going to start with a first controversial one.
Have I told you all I like F1 racing?
What is the name you first think of when you think of F1? Emerson Fittipaldi? Mario Andretti? Alain Prost? Jackie Stewart maybe? When I first heard of F1, it was the beginning of the age of dominance of a young German named Michael Schumacher. To date, he is the most successful F1 driver of all time. He gets listed second often to a Brazilian driver who died in 1994, who I’ll take about in another post for his own right. Schumi, as I’ll call him, was driven to win. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because of that drive, and much like the Patriots dynasty, people loved to cheer against him because he had dominated for so long (7 total titles, 5 consecutive drivers titles.) I’d LOVE to highlight his driving prowess- suffice to say that if I race, I want to race like him!
But what I want to highlight is Schumi’s family.
He married in 1995, and they have two grown children. His daughter Gina rides horses competitively, and his son Mick races in Formula 3. But you know what I love most about it? Schumi’s a guy that stayed with his family. I’m willing to bet he had lots of chances for running off with some chick from wherever when he was out racing in F1, but they are still married 20 some years later. And they are still fiercely protective of their private family life (side note, Frau Haggerty or my NOVA German prof said that Germans are very private people, is this true?) Schumi and family are a core team and what’s amazing is this – Michael Schumacher had a serious brain injury in 2013 from a skiing accident, went into a coma and nothing has been the same. No one in the public eye knows how he is doing, in fact, his family protects his information better than anyone in Washington DC can keep their mouth shut.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, if you read a previous post you know how I feel about assisted suicide and dealing with pain. If you read that, you’ll know that I consider a family that sticks by the side of the husband and father even though he might have to speak through a machine to be heroes beyond anything that a racing driver was. I consider that he is fighting through physical and probably hugely mental distress just to live, and he’s not giving up. He might even be paralyzed and virtually a vegetable. And on top of it all, the family’s message for the world and for Michael is “Keep Fighting“. What a powerful message for all of us. For me, for my own fight, I’m inspired by this phrase. I’m inspired by Schumi’s drive, even going so far as to upset people because he bends the rules so he can win. (Bend, not break.). You can find out more about Schumi here, and the wikipedia linked above. His career is not without controversy but I invite you to learn, to listen to his interviews (youtube) and judge for yourself. Personally, I admire him for his talent but more for his commitment that he stayed with his family, and I think that his commitment is why they stay with him. I’ve also heard through the grapevine that he’s Catholic. Well, hey!
And when you read about him, say a prayer for his recovery. Even celebrities need prayers.