Where have our role models gone?

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Do we still have role models like  Louis “Louie” Zamperini, whose early life story is told in the new movie Unbroken?

It’s becoming harder and harder to find them in big-time college football. I didn’t spend a minute of New Year’s Day watching football (more on that in a bit.) But a couple of items popped into my various news feeds this morning that have left me scratching my head, including:

In the big picture of life, maybe none of this is very important. But it’s enough to make me find better ways to spend my time. So how did I spend New Year’s Day? Well, I got up, went to the grocery store, came home and ate breakfast with Janet. I took a nap and then helped take down the Christmas tree and ran a couple of errands.

And then I went to see Unbroken with Jacob.The bottom line: Go see it. The movie features the life of Zamperini, a college track star and Olympic athlete who served as an officer during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force’s 372nd Bombardment Squadron and 307th Bombardment Group. During his time in the service, he spent 47 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean in a life raft and was later beaten severely by the Japanese as a prisoner of war.

After the war, Zamperini, who died in July at age 97, overcame alcoholism and post-traumatic stress syndrome, forgave his former Japanese captors and spent much of the rest of his life as a Christian motivational speaker. As good as the movie is, it doesn’t really address any of this so you may want to read the book on which the movie was based.

After the movie, I came home, took out the trash, set up the bicycles on the trainers in the basement and started getting ready to tackle 2015.

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. But I really liked the thoughts of some of my friends on Facebook.

“Happy 2015, everyone,” wrote one friend. “May you have the courage to improve your own for the better.”

Another friend wrote: “Here’s to (fewer) resolutions and more results. Happy 2015, everyone!”

As for me, I resolve to try harder to be a bit more like Louie Zamperini and less like Rich Rodriguez.