What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
The tag line for this blog is “What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions.” Frankly, since the NFL sucks and we are finally past that cesspool called the election, I’ve decided to create a new feature on this blog where I intend to intersect two passions of mine; sports and classic films.
There’s a distinct reason for that. As Americans, we love movies for the same reason we love sports; not only do they both entertain, but they contain a narrative for which we can make allegories. Even non-bloggers do it all the time, so why would some guy who thinks he can write do the same think, except to be waaay more smarmy and pseudo-intellectual about it?
Many of the movies which will appear here are also featured in my list of essential films, but not all. However, the first one definitely does.
While this movie is somewhat dated, a bit fictionalized, and has more than one moment which red-lines the “Corny-o-meter, it’s still one of my favorites, precisely because of the hidden message I will discuss in a bit.
The story is based on the life and war service of Alvin York, who went from humble beginnings to being one of the biggest American military heroes ever. The movie begins with his bucolic existence in 1916 Tennessee. At first, York is little more then a rabble-rousing, hard-drinking rube who has a talent for marksmanship. The turning point comes when York finds religion when he is struck by lightning while drunk and seemingly on his way to kill a man who cheated him in a deal for some farmland.
After this epiphany, America’s involvement in World War I begins and York is drafted. At first, he claims to be a conscientious objector since he believes the Bible forbids killing. But his skill handling a rifle combined with a speech on good and evil from his commanding officer leads to York’s becoming a sergeant and a squad leader. In the film’s defining action sequence, York and his men are under murderous fire until he flanks a German position and captures a large number of enemy soldiers; an action which saved the lives of many of his men.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
When York first enters the Army, he is treated badly for having been a conscientious objector. At the time, such a stance was seen as un-patriotic, and York was seen as a potential troublemaker or worse because of it. But when he met a leader who understood how to recognize and tap into the potential in people, great things happened.
The hidden sports analogy here is in Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Many people forget that Wilson had a less-than-amicable end to his playing days at North Carolina State, and even after he had a huge year after his transfer to Wisconsin, his size combined with his expressed interest in also pursuing a career in baseball led many to dismiss his prospects as an NFL quarterback. Even the team that took him didn’t do so until the third round, and even then, the Seahawks were willing to start the season with a career back-up named Matt Flynn.
But once Wilson got on the field, the difference was as striking as Sergeant York’s storming of the German trench. By the end of the next season, Wilson led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title and established himself as an MVP-caliber player.
The Moral of the Story:
Greatness often exists in places you wouldn’t think to look for it.