Spontaneous Pop Star Heroics

Liam Payne pulling his friend from a burning balcony; Pink comforting a young girl mid-concert and stopping a fight that had broken out in the audience; and Justin Timberlake administering the Heimlich manoeuvre on his friend choking on a peanut. These are all stories of pop starts who might be some people’s heroes for their musical abilities, but have proven themselves to be heroes in emergency situations too.

heimlich-maneuver-for-all-ages

What makes someone a hero?

You can list all the qualities which make someone a hero: brave, resilient, self-less, kind, thoughtful… Well a news story about 80 people joining together to save a group of swimmers struggling in a rip tide has all the signs of heroic action.

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Derek Simmons who was on the beach in Florida said that he spoke to another guy on the beach when he noticed the swimmers struggling, “Let’s try to get as many people as we can to form a human chain”. He explained that if you know about ants, you know when one’s in trouble they form a chain to help it. His theory was to get enough people to get out there and pull them in and then everybody could finish having a good rest of the evening. More and more people on the beach responded to the cries to join the human chain so that in the end up to 80 people joined together to reach out and save the young kids and their grandma.

As it is nearly the summer holidays and lots of you will be heading  to the beach here are some words of advice on riptides. Firstly learn how to spot a possible riptide:

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It is actually the calm looking water in the middle which is the rip current, as explained below:

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I know that when I have been on holiday in Cornwall that the lifeguards have marked out the safe places to swim with their flags. But if you look just to the left of the swimmers and surfers area that calmer looking water which looks so inviting is actually the dangerous rip. The picture below advises you to escape a rip current by swimming or preferably floating, horizontal from the shore, away from it:

escape a rip

Muhammad Ali: watch and learn

In today’s lesson where students had to decide who is the biggest hero, Mother Teresa or Muhammad Ali, the latter was a clear winner. Below are some documentaries and films which will provide you with a heaps of information and inspiration from the great man himself.

  • Muhammad Ali – The Whole Story (1996): This is a six hour series which covers the whole of Muhammad Ali’s life.
  • When We Were Kings (1996): I watched this for the first time at University as part of  a film festival and the documentary transfixes you with the heat and passion of boxing. It covers the infamous 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ between Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. The focus is, naturally enough, the aging Ali, who was thought at the time to have little chance of beating Foreman yet his ‘rope-a-dope’ strategy –pretending to be in more trouble than you actually are, and cunningly wearing your opponent down in the process – proves devastating.
  • Ali (2001): Will Smith who is most famous for the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Men in Black stars in this biopic that chronicles ten years in the life of Cassius Clay, from 1964, when he took the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, to 1974 and the Rumble In The Jungle with George Foreman. In between, there are the wider issues of Ali’s controversial opposition to the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector, his conversion to Islam, his banishment from boxing and his initial return against Joe Frazier.
  • The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013): This is an American PBS documentary which focuses on Ali’s life outside the ring. A lot of times is given of course to his refusal of the Vietnam draft and the legal and professional problems it caused him (he faced prison, was stripped of his heavyweight title and had his boxing licence suspended for four years).
  • I am Ali (2013): This documentary is just about Ali as a man. There isn’t the focus on Ali as a boxer like other films or documentaries. It shows him as a warm-hearted family man through lots of  audio recordings Ali himself  in the ‘70s.

muhammad ali

Other short clips about Ali are worth watching to learn more about this hero:

  1. BBC News reporting on his death
  2. Inside Story by Al-Jazeera
  3. Muhammad Ali Obituary by the New York Times
  4. The last US President Obama gives a tribute to Ali 
  5. BBC Sports Personality of the Century

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