My first hero was Evel Knievel. It was the mid-’70s. I was a young kid, and the daredevil business was brand new. Evel Knievel conceived of and executed stunts that seemed superhuman, while dressed in a superhero costume.
It was mind blowing. The man seemed fearless. I had no sense of what was safe and what wasn’t. Americans were still driving around on leaded gas, not wearing seatbelts. To my young mind, everything seemed possible, but only one person was out there proving it.
Never mind the reality that his stunts often failed, that he broke his body in a thousand different ways. It was the audacity and attitude that inspired me, like a one man X-Games.
Obviously, whole generations followed and got better at calculating risks and managing their exploits, but without this guy out there launching himself off the ends of ramps, none of that would have happened.