Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hero Worship

One of the things that I must admit that I little understand is hero worship, but before I go farther, I better define what I mean by hero. Using Dictionary.com, I am thinking of 1 & 2-- although someone could worship a fictional character.
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child. 
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc. 
When the recent uproar occurred over the Patriots and what the media named Deflategate, Limbaugh discussed it on his show and made a point that this illustrates how important football is to Americans. This non-story pushed from the headlines the overthrow of Yemen's government, the death of a Saudi king, Obama's trip to India, the shooting death of a prosecutor in Argentina, police overreach, climate change, oil prices falling, and just about any other story as paper after paper led with it-- including the nightly news. They did this because apparently Americans are obsessed with sports heroes.

Some claimed it was important because it was about cheating, and we all know cheating is bad. Except, that was before there was any proof of cheating. Just proof of under inflated balls, all of them belonging to the Patriots. Do other teams ever have under-inflated balls? Who knows? How much benefit does a team receive from one? That could be debated, but why would it be when there is something far more exciting to take apart piece by piece. [Experiments indicate there could be explanations other than cheating] but who cares about that-- sounds too much like science!

From the time of that game and the sports article, people weighed in on what must have happened whether they had any idea of it or not. That included a lot of aging football players. I even saw a video where a news team in Indianapolis handed two balls to random citizens and asked them if they could tell which was under-inflated by two pounds. After weighing them carefully, squeezing them, the people, even a homeless guy, guessed right-- at least they had been when I quit watching the video. So two balls that look identical, can be determined that one weighs more than the other if you handle them both, maybe at the same time, and you already know one is lighter than the other. What did that prove exactly? Well, it proved that guy could get his story on the air.

I don't think it matters so much because of what happened or did not. Time might tell what that was. It's hard to believe an equipment handler or ball boy could somehow get around and deflate all those balls without it being captured on film by someone. Some say that has happened, but the NFL is not discussing what was discovered-- probably until after the Super Bowl.

Isn't it surprising to anyone that the refs, who handle those balls between each play, never said they noticed. It turned out that the sportscaster from Indianapolis, who claimed an anonymous source, who was supposed to be a Colt, who took the ball off the field because he noticed something strange. But then he spoke out and said he had not. He just wanted a souvenir. That story didn't get much coverage though. I read someone saying that [if the team had been anyone but the Patriots, who were often hated already, this would have been a non-story]

Why it is a story, I think, is not so much because years ago Patriots took videos of hand signals during a game where 80,000 people saw the same signals. Some say that is why this is a big deal-- they are proven cheaters. I personally doubt that. I think it more likely goes back to Tom Brady, the man who seems to have everything, talent, physical beauty, strength, and a gorgeous supermodel wife. This looks to me like a favorite American pastime-- build up heroes and tear them down. It's not so far from the mentality of the Romans with the gladiators-- with a thumbs up or thumbs down and no basis on any actual event as to which the mob goes for.

For those who don't follow football or even know who Tom Brady is, here's an article I saw recently on him, his approaching old age (he's 37), his philosophy, why he believes his body can keep going, and the impact of this latest event on him-- interestingly enough written by a NYTimes writer who usually follows politics. (I have to say a lot of what I have seen happening with this deflategate seems a lot like politics.)

Americans, probably all humans, love to create heroes. Supposedly this starts when we are children, and these heroes provide us examples we can then follow and use to grow up and become... or try to become. So this is why it's so horrifying to adults who worry about the impact on children when they find out their hero had clay feet (something we don't yet know about Tom Brady).

To consider this concept of hero worship, I went back to my childhood to try and remember if I had such a hero. I had those I admired. Annette Funicello quickly comes to mind. Mickey Mouse Club, the first one, was popular when I was a girl, and she was the one who stood out. She was cute, bouncy, and the boys went for her. Spin and Marty in particular was a little series I loved and both those boys wanted Annette. I wanted Spin, of course, which might have impacted why I admired her. I was nothing like her for looks but wow, Annette.

from http://www.catsafterme.com/blog/archives/14590

But I didn't hero worship her. I didn't want to be her. When she later had her nose done, it didn't cause me to lose faith in her (or get mine done). When she went on to make silly beach movies (probably why she had to have the nose job), I didn't feel she had disappointed me. I just didn't watch them. So she wasn't a hero to me-- other than that she got Spin (who I already did understand was a character in a show not a real person).

As I searched my memory, there was nobody who I hero worshiped (although I did hope to grow up and marry Clint Walker, who played a character called Cheyenne-- but I gave that up when I found out he was married). But to consider someone a hero to me, to want to be them, there were none, not movie stars, singers, athletes, spiritual leaders, or politicians. So if they were caught doing some despicable act, it'd have not hurt my life or my own goals. My life and goals weren't based on someone else-- someone I really didn't know.

Was my life damaged by having no such heroes? I don't know. I've often thought I'd have liked to have a mentor and not just for writing but for art, for life. I never had that either. I have had this or that one I've learned from, but a mentor or hero is more than that.

Political leaders can easily become heroes to people. In my case, I might like what they do politically but that's where it ends-- no political heroes ever. When I found out Anthony Weiner, who I used to like for how feisty he was in standing up for progressive values, was a bit of a pervert, my life wasn't turned on end. I'd long since figured people aren't perfect. I'd probably have voted for him again even though it appears he hasn't given up his peccadillo for sexual misadventures. He's not my husband; and if he's doing his job, I don't really care what he is doing online-- his wife maybe should. I might think it's stupid, but it doesn't break my heart, cause me to lose my own goals. When it's not hero worship, it's pretty much-- so what. No, Obama wasn't a hero to me. I have liked what he said he would do. I hoped he'd be a good leader.

Actually, I haven't had a political hero since... hmmm, never had one. Which is probably lucky because they almost all end up with clay feet. 

Should children be encouraged to have heroes, where they try to mimic what they do? Where they build their life goals around them? How about fictional ones-- or even historical? Personally I'd say no-- especially if they aren't someone in their real life like a relative or older friend. Even then it's risky. Humans are not perfect and mostly will always let down others or themselves one way or another. Having anyone, as a hero on a pedestal, is leading to disappointment. It's unrealistic.

By 71, I am unlikely to have a hero, even as fascinated as I am by human nature. Maybe I am too cynical. Where I have created a lot of them for books, I have never seen any of them as perfect and sure never wanted to know them in real life. They were fictional and intended for the equally fictional heroine.

So tomorrow is the Super Bowl, which is the ultimate time for those who have heroes. Some will be cheering for the Seahawks. Others the Patriots, although less since so many have decided that they cheated even if they aren't sure how they did it. Me, I will probably go somewhere. It's a great day to shop or go to the beach. Love Super Bowl days for how it empties out the roads, restaurants, and shops. :)

And finally, I came across this Friday. Because we all deserve to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously-- yes, I mean that-- check this out:


Meryl Baer said...

Loved the video. I guess no women took responsibility because we don't care at all about this ridiculous 'scandal'. I'm with you - don't care about the game and won't watch.

Ingineer66 said...

Thought provoking post. And written in your usual excellent fashion.
First, I do not care for calling people that are good at sports, heroes. Yes they are very talented and put in a lot of time and dedication to doing their jobs very well. They can be admired, but calling them heroes to me is a reach. Heroes are people that risk their lives to perform acts of valor to save others.

I think maybe it is more of a hatred of Coach Belichick than Brady. Most people like him. Heck he makes millions of dollars and isn't even the principle wage earner in his family. His super model wife is worth more than he is. Who wouldn't want to be him. But the coach was caught cheating before and oddly they have not won a Super Bowl since they were caught cheating. Besides that the coach is a known jerk. I know people that work for the NFL and it is well known what a jerk he is.

As for the science, a mathematician in DC looked at the the Patriots fumble percentage before the league let team provide their own balls in 2006. They had one fumble for every 42 touches. Since 2006, they have one fumble for every 74 touches, which leads the league in fewest fumbles. Not proof, but more circumstantial evidence.

I have never really had a personal hero, but I admire many people.

And that video is wicked awesome.

Rain Trueax said...

I heard that also, Ingineer, about the fumbles-- but then I also saw Brady had fumbled; so was it even a factor. If the fumbles are the receivers, than they benefit more from the air differnce. Montana said he thought the rule for the amount of air in a football ought to be ended as it makes no sense. Anyway time will tell who takes the fall for it :).

I don't know anything about Belichick or really much about any of the teams but it caught my attention as human interest. I am really into stories about how people react to situations.

There was a good story last night on Gumbell's sports show about the coach of the Ohio State team and how it had impacted his life, his need to win and the way it nearly killed him. Great little story but again I know nothing about college football either. We watch almost no football at our house but if anybody turned on the Super Bowl, it'd be me. I think though I'll be at the beach on Sunday.

Glad to hear the take from someone who does know though :)

Dick said...

All I know is what has been released in the news reports. One said the first to report something off about the ball was a Colts player who intercepted a pass from Brady. He mentioned it to a coach from his team. Something did happen that caused the balls to be checked at half time.

As to the weather affecting them, I don't understand how it wouldn't also affect the Colt's balls in the same way. So 11 out of 24 were off and all those 11 just happened to be from one team?

We will have to wait for the final determination from the investigation by the NFL and it actually may never be finally determined what happened. In the meantime, I plan to watch the game tomorrow and will root for the Seahawks.

Rain Trueax said...

the theory presented is that since the Colts didn't get to play with the ball that much before it was taken away with the Patriots getting it back, that explained it with the additional pounding the play gave it. Supposing the Patriots had them filled to the minimum level and the Colts to the maximum. Losing air from that would make one under the limit and the other not. Anyway time will tell on it-- maybe ;)

The original story was what you said, Dick, but the player himself denied he was the source. He said he never noticed. Maybe when he took it for a souvenir, someone on the Colts team noticed it. They were obviously under-inflated-- however they got there.

Tabor said...

Up early and turned on TV and COULD NOT FIND any place that didn't mention this game at least one. So tired of it already! No heroes in my history that I can remember. Sports hero is a non thing for me.

Rain Trueax said...

My problem with watching something like the Super Bowl is I am a very uncompetitive person. I don't like win/lose situations, and it's the ultimate. It's raining here today-- hallelujah as we need it-- so maybe not the beach but go to town when the game is on. Great time to hit Costco :)

Ingineer66 said...

You got rain. Damn they got rain in San Diego and Arizona Friday and you are getting it today. And we get nothing. The lakes are going to be empty this summer if it doesn't rain this year.

Rain Trueax said...

Another link on the fact that the rumors regarding how much the balls were under-inflated only one ball 2 pounds under. Not quite so cut and dried but who cares by now the public has made up their minds.

Ingineer66 said...

The Patriots won so I guess it is all a moot point.

Rain Trueax said...

They could still lose a draft pick and they need that given the ages of their team. What got me, and I read about it, didn't watch this, was how a rookie saved the day for them. I've never read such moaning from the Seahawk fans in the comments on it. Poor sports much *s*.

To me, it seems they were an evenly matched team (I did watch some of the first half before I got disillusioned by the Katy Perry show which clearly was aimed at younger people than me and turned on the movie we had planned, Blazing Saddles). We turned the game back on just in time to hear who won but not how close it was to ending up the other way. Whoever got the last touchdown would've won it-- as happened when the Hawks had the last one and beat the Packers that way. Brady had some luck on this one but from the Seahawk fans, it was all a thrown game lol. It is JUST like politics only with athletic ability thrown in ;)

Ingineer66 said...

I do not like either coach so I really didn't care who won. I was sort of rooting for the Seahawks but it was good to see them lose like that. And to start a fight was just ridiculous. Shows the true character of some of the players.
I thought the half time show was good. Much better than the last several years. But I wasn't expecting much.

Rain Trueax said...

I think Belichick, not being prone to cater up to the press, is a better coach than some would say. I read that he had worked with Butler on exactly the play that saved the game for the Patriots. The point the writer made was not a lot of coaches would put time into a rookie who had to go through the training camp and pregames, wasn't on the main lineup and yet because he had, the guy was ready.

Also for those who don't like Brady, he gave the truck for MVP to Butler. A good choice I'd say since it took Brady to get them to where the game could be won but Butler cinched it

Tara Crowley said...

hilarious video! Kimmel does the funniest sketches.

I sometimes watch football play offs and super bowl, and if I'm with fans, it's fun and exciting. I thought this year's game was especially exciting and probably the best I've ever watched. But there are no heroes.

My heroes growing up were Frederick Douglass, Anne Frank, Shirley Chisolm, Gandi. You get the gist: advocates for the down trodden.

I'm increasingly conflicted about watching American Football, what with the huge number of brain injuries, the crazy amount of money involved, the sex and drug trades that feed off this monster sport. How can I support it?