For once, the theme of this post has nothing to do with Padilla.  Instead, it is about heroism.  The sort that inspires others to greatness or, at the very least, to reject mediocrity as the status quo.  I have a friend who is a radiologist.  He once told me that in order to survive those long hours of being “on call” at the hospital, he would think about the soldiers who are fighting overseas as a means of inspiration and sustenance.  This past year, I came across two feats of heroism which I thought worthy of mention here.

One pertains to a story many of you have perhaps already heard about: the mayor of Newark Cory Booker dashing into a burning building to save a woman from what was by all accounts imminent death.  Sure, one can question his motivations for doing what he did — he is, after all, a politician.  But this is an event that I will take at face value, if for no other reason because it provides a source of inspiration much like the soldiers whom my doctor friend relied on to get him through those long hours on call, and without which life would not be worth living.  If you haven’t seen it already, Mayor Booker gave the following press conference the day after his fiery rescue attempt:

The other heroic feat which I think bears mention, and I have to admit I am biased (read: Met fan) in writing about it, is Johan Santana pitching the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history.  Like other long-suffering Met fans, the prospect of a no-hitter is ever present — that is, you are constantly on the look out for one but know in the back of your mind that it almost will never happen on your watch.  Much like nuclear armageddon or a three-party system.  But it happened this time and I remember the moment when I turned to my wife in the sixth inning and openly observed what I noticed were a series of zeros on the scoreboard.  Neither I nor she thought much of it then as I am sure was the case with a lot of other Met fans who either watched or listened to the game that night.  But we kept our ears glued to to the radio, more so than usual for a regular season game, and closely  followed Johan’s progress from the sixth inning on.  And the rest is history.  What struck me most about Johan’s feat, however, and what I thought was most heroic about it, was that Johan surely knew that he would not be able to pitch another game after this one.  But he did it anyway:

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