Hero's Journey: John Ritter; the Chip Hilton of Goshen, Indiana
What makes a real hero?
Chip Hilton was an ideal hero for boys growing up in small Midwestern towns in the 1950s and 60s. Chip was an A-student, loving son, and hard worker at the local drug store. He had a gang of loyal friends and was the star player on his high school sports teams. But Chip was just a fictional character in a series of sports-action books.
John Ritter was a real-live boy who seemed to be as close to Chip Hilton-like perfection as humanly possible. He grew up in Goshen, Indiana, to become a record-breaking All-Star basketball player and captain of Bob Knight's first outstanding Indiana Hoosiers team. After his college heroics, John Ritter's star faded and his life took a tragic turn very different from the expectations of his hometown fans. When he finally cracked under the pressure to perform perfectly, Ritter's life diverged radically from his fictional twin.
Jeff Rasley's childhood memories of his story book and real-life sports heroes are the launch pad for an exploration of how we create, treat, and mistreat our heroes. Hero's Journey taps voices as diverse as Patti Smith, Homer, Shakespeare, the Grateful Dead, and Dennis Rodman in an examination of the cultural shifts in the meaning of hero.
Author: Jeff Rasley lives on the White River in Indianapolis with Alicia and Bandit. Jeff is the author of nine books