H. English 12 February 27, 2013 Hines Ward as a Modern Hero There are very few people in the world today we can consider heroes. These people are almost always brave, honest, compassionate, and smart. These qualities can all be found in Hines Ward. The things that make him a modern hero are his outstanding football career, dedication to charity, and perseverance for equality. Hines Ward would have never been able to achieve any of his goals or aspirations without his football career. It is the vessel that carried him forward in life, and it is what put him on top.
Ward started out at a small high school in Atlanta, and then he went to The University of Georgia where he was drafted to the professional football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward was easily one of the best receivers to play in the NFL by far. In an article written about one of Wards hits where he broke Keith Rivers jaw, Larry Brown says “Lesson be learned: always go hard and stay on your toes when you’re occupying the same space as Hines Ward. Otherwise you’re going to wind up hurt. ” (Brown).
Just the idea that other players would have to pay attention to a singular player shows his ability. Even if Wards big hits weren’t enough, he is also one of eight people in NFL history to achieve a landmark 1,000 receptions. Hines is also the second player to have 1,000 receptions while also having multiple Super Bowl wins. Ward has been in multiple Super Bowls. In Super Bowl XL, he was recognized as the game’s MVP. Ward caught five passes for 123 yards, and had a touchdown. Even though he won this, he was still as humble as ever.
Ward dropped a pass, and in an interview his teammate and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said “Hines was going to kill himself because he dropped a touchdown pass. But you know what? He came out and made plays when he had to and that’s what he does. ” (Super Bowl XL MVP). Ward is and forever will be one of the best players to play the game. There will never be many players who can match his intensity and ability. Although Ward ended up in a not so obscure place, he started very close to the bottom. He was born in Seoul, South Korea to his African American father nd his Korean mother. They moved to Atlanta, and his father left their family. Ward worked his way up from the bottom and had to deal with many obstacles along the way. Ward is very dedicated to helping other people overcome the same obstacles he himself overcame. In South Korea, Ward had to deal with discrimination due to being a mixed race child. After Ward became a professional football player, he was compelled to start a charity that would help deal with the issue of mixed-race discrimination in Korea and everywhere else.
Ward called his charity The Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation. Ward not only donates money, but much of his time to his foundation. In an interview about his charity Ward said “When I went to Korea and saw, firsthand, the biracial children, I could easily identify with them and they embraced me, like a hero. I do not want to let them down. I want to encourage them by providing them with resources and programs that will enhance their lives and chances for success in life. ” (Interview with Eric Kuhn). Ward clearly wants to do his best to help these kids.
He shows perseverance and helps to provide these underprivileged children with hope for their future. Other traits that make a modern hero are humility and a positive attitude. Ward is a player that demonstrates both. He is one of the hardest hitting players in the NFL, and one of the most humble. Ward says that “It’s like my mother still tells me, ‘Always be humble, and never forget where you came from. My story is kind of a perfect story, of how I was able to overcome all that. Maybe some other kids can use that as motivation. ” (Hines Ward).
Ward knows how lucky he is to have all the opportunities he was granted, and he doesn’t take these opportunities lightly. Ward also has a very positive attitude. Many players recall after hitting him, or being hit by him that he always had a smile on his face. In a play against the Seahawks, Ward caught a pass and ran into the endzone for a touchdown. It wasn’t the play that was extraordinary, but it was how Ward made the play. He ran the ball in the whole way, smiling. The NFL even took the picture taken of him making the play and made it into one of their go to advertisement pictures for the next year.
The NFL put it on a raft of official publications the next year; it was that iconic, that unusual. “The NFL put it on a raft of official publications the next year; it was that iconic, that unusual. ” (Collier). This one picture shows off Wards entire football career. Ward is just a regular guy, playing the game he loved every day, and doing it all with a smile on his face. He is an inspiration and a role model for all young people to look up to. Ward is easily one of the best people to ever play football, both on and off the field.
His positive attitude mixed with his humble upbringing and overall ability is what makes him a modern day hero. Ward retired from the NFL with an unparalled dedication to his team. “Hines Ward believes he can still play football. The longtime Pittsburgh wide receiver known for his high-wattage smile and his bone-crunching blocks just couldn’t stomach the thought of doing it in some strange uniform on some strange field with nary a Terrible Towel in sight. ” (Hensley). Ward retired with dignity as an all-time best Steelers receiver, and he is a person that everyone can find some inspiration in.