Sometimes cheerleaders are the best heroes…

“Save the cheerleader…save the world!” – Heroes

When the NBC show Heroes debuted seven years ago, it was unlike anything the world had seen before.  Yes, it was part X-Men, but the idea that – in the show – super-powered individuals were discovering their powers, trying to cope with them and everything they went through became the panels of a comic book that existed in-universe?  Yes, that was new and what made the first season brilliant.  Unfortunately that candle that burned twice as bright burned half as long…and every time the candle was rekindled it just wasn’t as bright (i.e. the third and fourth seasons).

One of the most prominent characters throughout the four seasons was Claire, a blonde high school cheerleader who became central to the plot in the first season, hence the “save the cheerleader…save the world”.  It is not typical to consider cheerleaders as heroes though, the “hero” in such a senario is always the football star, right?  (It’s what culture wants us to believe anyway).  Fortunately, almost a decade before Claire, the cheerleader from Texas, there was another cheerleader from a town called Sunnydale, California and her name was Buffy Summers.  Less cheerleader, more chosen vampire slayer, she and her band of young, mismatched, friends – and one very proper librarian – saved the world from all kinds of evil…sometimes even themselves.

Sometimes though, cheerleaders that makes the best heroes don’t know much about acrobatics or pom-poms.  Take C.S. Lewis for example:  One of the greatest literary minds of the 20th Century played cheerleader to one of the other greatest literary minds of the 20th Century, J.R.R. Tolkien.  If it hadn’t been for Lewis, Lord of the Rings (LOTR) would have never happened.  It was Lewis, as Tolkien’s close friend and fellow member of their famous literary group, The Inklings, that prodded and plead with Tolkien to actually finished the beloved epic fantasy that so moved him. Later, when asked by the Nobel committee who should receive the prize for literature in 1961, Lewis nominated Tolkien for that honor.  Unfortunately, LOTR was rejected due to “poor prose”.

It isn’t always literary giants who play heroic cheerleader either.  Sometimes it’s friends, friends like Andy Pisciotti.  No stranger to this blog, he helped me build it and, as the visual storyteller for National Community Church, he is also responsible for the video I did for a sermon series last year.  More than anyone else these days, Andy is the one who bugs me about writing this blog, who keeps encouraging me to sink time into writing “that book(s)” several people KNOW are pin-balling around in my head like Yoda’s lightsaber duel in Star Wars Episode II.   (As far as I know he’s not a fan of pom poms, but maybe that one character from Homestar Runner…)  We’ve commented in the past that he’s the Lewis to my Tolkien right now, being that voice that says “keep writing, I know it’s hard, and sometimes you don’t want to – he’s right – but you can and you need to”.  Amidst  all the white noise in life, his is a voice I consider, one I try and listen to.

So the next time that the idea of “cheerleader” races across your brain don’t think sports or spectacle, think encouragement.  Who do you need to be a cheerleader for?  Whose world might you need to be involved in saving?

Who’s your Lewis?



Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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