An Unlikely Hero

Feb 22, 2008

Alfred Brown - Lanphier High School
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

When most of us think of a hero, we tend to think of superman rescuing some innocent woman from danger or a heroic firefighter saving someone from a catastrophic fire. You don't have to be a firefighter to be considered a hero. I believe a hero lies within us all. I feel this way because my life was forever changed by the actions of one fearless girl.

As a young boy, the pool was a place of endless fun but that would soon change. I watched the older kids as they jumped fro this incredibly high platform. Once they emerged from the crystal blue water, they all had huge smiles on their faces. I knew that my use of the diving board was strictly prohibited but I couldn't resist the temptation of fun. Besides, no one was watching anyway. Sneakily I dragged my skinny body from the depths and headed for the tower. As I crept, I noticed the distorted face of a blonde headed girl named Judy. I regarded her with the utmost disgust and hated her with every molecule of my awkward body. Because I was in the second grade and she in the fifth, she would tease me about my pumpkin head and my big buck teeth. I thought to myself, "Who in their right mind names their kid Judy? Judy is a fat girl's name but that's fitting for her." I wanted so badly to tell her about her pig body and her bad case of halitosis but the fear of getting beat down always got the best of me. Luckily, her youth was getting the best of her as she was busy beating the living daylights out of some kid in a corner. 

She just simply transformed into the hero that lies within us all.

Once I slipped past pig girl, I finally reached my destination. I touched the cold wet bars of the ladder, took a look to make sure no one was looking, and advanced up the colossal fiend. After what felt like hours, I finally reached my long awaited target. I then looked down and realized how high I was. Immediately, my stomach started to twist into knots, my knees began to buckle, and I had second thoughts about my plan. A part of me wanted to climb down but I knew that would result in being caught and death itself sounded better than being caught. I crawled toward the end of the platform and leaped off. I fell...and fell...and fell.

The sheer power of impact felt as if metal shards were tearing at my skin. The clear liquid allowed me to open my eyes and I noticed kids playing in the distance but no one was remotely close to me. Not realizing that I had plummeted into 15 feet of water, I stayed submerged and didn't attempted to move. After my brain registered that I was in grave danger, I began to flail but the world above me seemed to move further and further away. Like the Matrix, I felt a fat hand grab me and yank me to the surface. Instantly, I began too spit up water as I gasped for air. The mighty being dragged me to the edge of the pool where I was helped up by the many concerned counselors. As they covered me with a towel and escorted me away, I turned around to see who rescued me. "JUDY!" I thought. "But she hates me! How can someone so spiteful have possibly saved my life?" My mom eventually found out about my date with death and enrolled me out of the after school program. I never saw Judy again.

Judy will never know but she secretly became a hero on that hot summer day. She never resembled the heroes I saw on TV but I've grown to realize something beautiful about that brave girl. She didn't have to be a firefighter or super man to become an idol. She just simply transformed into the hero that lies within us all.