Lately my heroes are people who did really stupid things and lost big time because of it. Timothy Treadwell is one, subject of the movie Grizzly Man. He spent 14 years in the Alaskan wilderness making a nuisance of himself around grizzly bears, living in an exceedingly stupid proximity to them, doing stupid things like swimming with them and petting them. In the end he got himself and his girlfriend eaten for it.
He probably wasn't really doing anybody any good by being out there, not the bears, definitely not his girlfriend. But I can't help but love this man for the extreme lengths he went to to make his life meaningful. He didn't sit in his room waiting for life to prove itself to him. He went out and created a life, and extraordinary one that gave him a purpose for being on the earth. And for however stupid and crazy he was, it's pretty damn amazing that he lived with grizzly bears for 13 years. No one can deny the guy had a pair of brass ones.
And then there's Lindsey Jacobellis. She was the great hope for a US Olympic gold medal in snowboard cross, which I've never had an interest in before, but this race was fierce and exceptional to watch. In the final she'd pulled out far far ahead of the other women, she had the bottom of the field to herself, the gold was hers. After a quick look back to see her lead, she took the last jump and did what everyone says was so stupid: she pulled a method air, a freestyle trick, which she wiped out on, giving just enough time for the Swiss competitor to pass her and win. She still got the silver, but also a storm of accusations and ridicule.
She sticks to her story that it was a tactical maneuver, while the press says she got overconfident and was showing off. But I say it was pure enthusiasm that just took her over. She probably didn't even know it was coming, a burst of joy and excitement that twisted her into that celebratory move. And so she wiped out. And so she didn't add another gold to the US tally. But she clearly raced the best race, and she's clearly a person capable of great energy, risk and happiness. And I love her for that.
Seekers of an authentic life, people of great enthusiasm, people who did stupid things, people who lost a lot. These are my people. I hope they have no regrets.