Monday, January 11, 2016

We Can Be Heroes...for Just One Day

David Bowie died today.  I was never a huge Bowie fan but there are songs that have resonated with me for years.  Heroes is one of those songs, today, now more than ever.  

69...such a short life as I turn 50 this year, Mr. AM is 60 how did life get so short?  He lived a long 69 years but it was over too soon.

I actually became a fan of David Bowie in the early 90's after reading he was dating Iman, the model from Mogadishu, Somalia, the most famous, stunning model to ever walk the Paris runways.  For me, enamored of all things African, it was the perfect match.  They were married 22 years, an eternity in the entertainment business and they were only separated by his death today.  

Heroes....the world simply needs more heroes.  This weekend I was with the team in Gisenyi to celebrate our 2015 Tour of Rwanda win with the Minister of Sport.  As we walked onto the beach at the Lake Kivu Serena there were several groups of Rwandans sitting at the tables along the sand enjoying the Sunday afternoon, a cheer went up, "Team Rwanda" with accompanying cell phones and people jockeying for position for a selfie with their favorite team member.  

That would never have happened even 3 years ago...or perhaps even 2 years ago...there were no cycling heroes in Rwanda.  Today, the entire team is recognized, cheered, revered...they have become heroes to their country.

In her speech, Minister Uwacu expressed how this team and the five riders leaving to join professional teams are ambassadors for their country.  She said that when they do well, not just in a race, but also in their interactions with the international community, it is a direct reflection on Rwanda, how the world perceives Rwanda. 

She sees their value not just on the bicycle, but in their role as ambassadors for their country, which transcends politics.

They are heroes.

The shouts for Bosco, one of the shyest members of Team Rwanda, to come sit and have a beer, to hang with the group of Rwandan fans were met with Bosco's hand waving, finger wagging, "Oye" (No).  Bosco knows his role, his job, his responsibility as he gets ready to leave for his first race with BikeAid in Mallorca, Spain.  He is focused on the task at hand.

Bosco is a hero to this country.  He's not the flash and extravert his teammate, Valens is, who won the Tour of Rwanda in 2014. He's a devoted mama's boy, helping his single mother provide for his family.  He is a hero to his family.

The world needs more Team Rwanda heroes...more Bosco, more Bonaventure, more Adrien Niyonshuti and less anti heroes of the social media world.

RIP David Bowie...thanks for a life well lived.

Be a hero....

Bosco after winning the 2016 Tour of Rwanda draped in the Rwandan flag

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