Students, please take note: we lost a Buffalonian yesterday that is worthy of the title “hero.” He was not an amazing athlete. He was not a wizard with business dealings or money. He was a smart, straight forward, honest, hard working journalist, and at the top of his game. Tim Russert is the type of person you should aspire to be like.
I never met Mr. Russert, and since I’m not originally from Buffalo, it may seem strange that I (like many) feel a connection to him. If you read the book he wrote about growing up in Buffalo and his roots in the working class neighborhoods in South Buffalo, you quickly see that he was the epitome of hard work and dedication. Anytime he was on TV, be it Meet the Press, or any number of political shows, he set the bar for journalistic excellence.
Compare his heroism to the typical sports hero. We easily get caught up in the amazing talents of a Bill or Sabre. They are amazing athletes, but many times the surface ability is given more credit than it is due. I certainly could not compete with the likes of Marshawn Lynch on the football field (or any pro sports player), but when his SUV hits a person, and he evades simple questioning by the police to find the truth, it makes my skin crawl (see related Buffalo News letter to the editor here).
I certainly do not want to generalize that sports heros are not great types to admire – I just do not like it at all that the amount of attention, money, and importance placed on sports heroes is disproportionately large. I would love it if we put 80,000 people in Ralph Wilson stadium to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, with everyone singing the opening motif…(OK, maybe not the best venue for Beethoven, but you get the picture).
Anyway, lets take a little time to stop and reflect on what it means to be great. Tim Russert is everything we should be proud of as Buffalonians, and he is someone any student of any age should aspire to be like when they “grow up.”
Dbking. Russert Russert Russert. Photograph. 14 June 2008. Flickr. 14 June 2008