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It didn't take long for the baseball world to take sides over Sammy Sosa's indiscretion over using a corked bat at the plate. Some say he was trying to break out of his batting funk created by being hit in the head by a pitch a few weeks before. Others took him at his word; he simply picked up the wrong bat as he was going to the plate-a bat that he said he used to put on a hitting show for the crowds during batting practice. I want to believe Sammy-most fans want to believe Sammy, because Sammy has become a celebrity to most people and a hero to others-even to people who aren't baseball fans. 

In an editorial for USA Today, Andrew Abrams offers some insight into the difference between celebrities and heroes. "Society is generally eager to forgive when its heroes occasionally stumble. However, consistent with heroic mythic, when the heroes falter because of character flaws, they must realize the error of their ways and seek forgiveness with sincere remorse. Often this realization and redemption, if anything, make the hero even more heroic. Importantly, though, this redemption cannot come from a clutch home run or a game-saving acrobatic catch. The issue is not the physical prowess of the hero, but rather the individual's character, because talent without character creates celebrities, not heroes."

Character does count. In the end, it is the true measure of a man, you can measure the popularity of a man by the length of the shadow he casts on society, but the real value of the man is in the trueness of his heart. The talents God gives us are His gift to us. What we do with them-the life of integrity we lead is our gift back to Him. No, I'm not talking about home runs, corked bats, denials, suspensions or fines-I'm talking about living life with integrity in the spotlight or in obscurity. We need people who don't use "corked bats" in games or in batting practice. We have enough celebrities. We need heroes-men and women with character. 

Psalm 26:1 KJV "Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide."

Source: USA Today, June 19, 2003, p. 13A

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