SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

November 15, 2012

Surfer had the honor and character that matter

The election campaign season was sometimes hard to watch and experience. Whether you were Republican or Democratic, there were ample opportunities to feel uneasy with the PACs, super PACs, 501(c)(4)s and other organizations supporting your candidates and speaking out on their behalf.

The negative TV and radio advertisements funded by these groups were often inaccurate, misleading or designed to elicit hasty and emotional reactions against opponents. Although not explicitly controlled or directed by the candidates themselves, the ads nonetheless were rarely repudiated by the candidate whose opponent was being dishonestly attacked.

To be fair to candidates and incumbents, however, it is not always easy to disarm unilaterally, and it is probably only by reforming the entire campaign finance system — speaking realistically — that we can promote more positive and responsible campaign rhetoric.

With this backdrop in mind, it was with great pleasure that I recently watched the film “Chasing Mavericks.” Based on the real life of Jay Moriarty, a young Santa Cruz, Calif., surfer, it is a story of honor, character, self-discipline and unshakable personal standards.

Moriarty died at age 22 in a free-diving accident in the Maldives. But while he lived he impressed the surfing world with his story, his attitude, his talent and his courage.

The film is timely. At a moment when so many problems exist at so many levels — personal, local, national and global — “Chasing Mavericks” reminds us of the importance of commitment, action and excellence, and the perhaps indispensable notion that working on things — be they objects, ideas, people or achievements — that are bigger than we are individually, and that will continue or reverberate after we are gone, has a transcendent value that can act to inspire us and others.

Born in 1978, Moriarty started surfing at age 9. By 15, he had mastered all of the moves and acrobatics being done on the medium-sized waves along Northern California’s coast.

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