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It was a sad day on Friday,one of my childhood heroes passed away. Evel Knievel died and with it many fond childhood memories returned as if it were just yesterday.
He was a Hero to ALL of US when we were kids.
I'll always remember jumping my bike over ramps in the driveway, we all did it, and we all eventually ended up with scrapes & cuts from trying to imitate him. He was one of the main reasons I got that first mini-bike, and later moved to real motorcycles, a sport I still enjoy today. Yes, I even went on to "jump" the motorcycles, albeit on off-road hills & jumps, not anything close to what he did, but still trying to enjoy a bit of the "freedom' that he gave us by trying to do something daring and imitate him, to an extent.
Yes, I had the toys, the posters, and NEVER missed it when he was on Wide World of Sports, next to my Dad, he was that dashing hero in my life. I even had the album that was put out about his life. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet Evel and have him autograph the album cover at a motorcycle show here in Ft. Worth, and let me tell you even though I was approaching 40 just the thought of meeting him and getting his autograph gave me butterflies, I felt like a kid again. I was fortunate enough to get to meet that childhood "idol" and I'll never forget the feeling - I was still a "wide-eyed kid" in awe of being in his presence. I'll always treasure the memories of jumping that bicycle, riding the motorcycles, and just being one of his fans.
It's sad when your childhood "idols" start dying, because it means that you've left childhood, matured, and moved on in your life, but those memories can be just as fresh as they were when you were a kid.
I'll always remember a part of a poem that was on the inside of the album jacket that was credited to him - "To be a man, to do my best; to stand alone is my only quest,...,for you to do what I do is not right, but for me it is not wrong,..., but just like you, I've just got to be me." I know they may not have been his own words, but they do have a meaning for all of us - be your own man and don't follow anyone else's path, but whatever you do, do it well!
Rest in Peace Evel, you were quite a hero to a generation of us and we are all grateful to what youmeant to our childhood. Thanks for the memories! There will NEVER be another like you, you were an original. From now on ALL of your landings will be straight and smooth.
My prayers and thoughts are with his family and loved ones - thanks for sharing him with us.