My hero wore No. 28


By Aaron Ward

Everyone has a different definition of a “hero.” Most people define a hero as someone who performs a larger than life act: saving someone from a burning car or finding a cure for a terminal illness. While these people certainly qualify as heroes, I believe there are other heroes among us too- heroes who show up everyday in the lives of others. By this definition, I am fortunate to have many people in my life who could be classified as heroes. My Grandma Debbie, Uncle Johnny, and Aunt Mary all qualify, but the person at the very top of my list is my Dad.

While we are growing up we never really understand how much our parents sacrifice to take care of us. When I was 14 my parents divorced. It quickly became very clear to me who was making most of the sacrifices. My Dad was my rock. Since I was very young my Dad has shown up to everything. In middle school he came to every musical event, sporting event, and parent teacher conference. He never missed a beat. My Dad, my brother and I relocated to Sidney from Cincinnati at the end of my eighth grade year. This meant a new school, new friends, and new coaches. Changing schools is always stressful. Navigating becoming part of a sports team at a new high school is an added layer. I am not sure if I would have had the courage to try out if I didn’t have the experience of my Dad always being in my corner. In the very darkest of moments, when everything seems uncertain, many people in my life would say “It is going to be OK.” That helped a little, but when my Dad tells me “Everything is going to be OK” I believe it. I immediately have confidence that things will work out.

When I look back on my childhood I realize that my Dad is in all of my memories. I grew up playing football starting in the third grade. My Dad even coached during my middle school years. By the time I played high school football, I knew where my Dad was in the stands- him being there made me play even harder. The same goes for track meets. When I get ready to run the 100 or the 200, I run harder because of him. My Dad holds the record for the 100 meter dash at Sidney High School at 10.93 seconds. The closest I have ever come to his record is 11.4 seconds. If I was ever to break his record- he would be more excited than me. That is what makes him a hero. He celebrates when good things happen to other people and he never stops showing up.

My Dad is not only my hero, but my best friend. Obviously, he is my Dad first. If I stepped out of line he would straighten me out. In any situation, he is my first call. There is no one who understands me better than him. We have a special bond that can’t be broken. I feel that it is important to have someone in your life that is a hero. I challenge you to identify a hero in your life and thank them. If you don’t have a hero in your life then I challenge you to be that hero for someone else.

To parents of teenagers I would say never underestimate the power of showing up and being interested in your kids’ lives. It might take some time for some teenagers to realize the sacrifices you are making, but once they see it, nothing but respect will follow. When I asked my Dad if he ever gets tired of being there for me and my brother he told me “This is what fathers do. My Dad did the same for me and someday you will hopefully do the same for your kid.” I spent some time thinking about that. I wore the #28 jersey during my high school football career because my Dad wore No. 28 during his high school football career. Someday I hope I can watch my own son want to wear No. 28. The value of knowing that another person loves you unconditionally and will always be in your life can help a young person overcome almost any adversity. My Dad, Lucas Ward is evidence of that.

Aaron Ward is the son of Lucas Ward. He plans to attend Wright State University over the next four years. He wants to pursue a career in CyberSecurity. This summer he plans to make money during the week and spend the weekends fishing with his Dad.

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