This time-honored tradition began in 1886 when President Grover Cleveland led a procession from Madison Square to Battery Park for the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Young clerks, inspired by the sight, dumped the reels of paper that came from the "ticker," a machine that continuously recorded the fluctuations of the stock market.
By an informal estimation, there have been more than 200 such parades since that first ticker-tape parade 125 years ago, honoring soldiers, astronauts and celebrated musicians. But since 1991, the ticker-tape parade has become almost solely reserved for sports champions.
In fact, since 1991 there have been 10 ticker-tape parades, but only one that wasn't related to a team bringing a sports title to New York City. That was in 1998 for John Glenn, who became the oldest man to travel into space. That parade was far smaller than Glenn's first ticker-tape parade in 1962, when he became the first man to orbit the earth.
Perhaps the ticker-tape parade has lost much of its mystique. In these days of environmentalism, dumping loads of scrap paper on the streets seems wasteful. Or maybe its because we no longer use "tickers" to track the ups and downs of Wall Street.
Or just maybe it's because we lost sight of what constitutes a hero. Surely there are events and people in the world besides winning sports teams that deserve such a show of gratitude; maybe we've just lost the ability to see that.
We're not saying it's not fitting to honor the hometown champions in such a way, and it's a great experience for the fans, but perhaps the next ticker-tape parade could honor returning soldiers or a Nobel Prize winner.
It's not as sexy as showering praise on a Super Bowl MVP quarterback, but it's perhaps more befitting a journey through something called the "Canyon of Heroes."