Original Post Date: January 21st, 2012
Author’s Note: As you shake off your post-Super Bowl hangover or just get on with your Monday because you don’t watch sports, have this post from 6 years ago. I wrote it after a humiliating playoff exit by the Green Bay Packers and somehow tied it with the movie “300.”
TitanTown: “Even a God-King Can Bleed”
Most of you who know me (either in “real life” or on Twitter), know that I am a Green Bay Packers fan. Anyone who follows the NFL is aware of the fact that the #1 seed Packers came out flat against a hot New York Giants team, and were promptly shown the door. I will spare you the details. They have been explained by others with a better grasp of the sport and far more impressive writing styles. There will be a few months of pain and introspection before Packers fans receive a new sense of hope through the NFL Draft. And, in the end, only one team’s fans are going to be happy this year. The rest will undergo the same process of mourning, albeit in varying degrees of intensity.
In life, losing is inevitable. Perfection, to me, simply does not exist. That is not intended to discourage you. Winning and losing are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. Without experiencing hardship, your triumphs will not mean as much. It is important to remember that losing is not always the end. It is possible to lose and still win.
Granted, losses affect everyone in different ways and there are countless methods of exorcising your particular demons. Some make music, others, art. Some write, others think. Many people choose to express themselves, and many bottle it inside. Me? I do a little of everything. Whatever I end up doing, I tend to keep to myself when dealing with hardship. But here, at DFB, I can write.
This week, I hopped into the “Wayback Machine” and took a trip to ancient Sparta. Perhaps it was the mood I found myself in, or perhaps I desired to poke through history and find a classic example of drawing inspiration from a loss. Nevertheless, I present:
“Xerxes dispatches his monsters from half the world away. They’re clumsy beasts, and the piled Persian dead are slippery.”
“Using giants is unfair! I want a do-over!”
There could be, and probably is (I didn’t Google) an entire class devoted to the Battle of Thermopylae, which took place in the year 480 B.C. While I have a great deal of interest in world history…I’m not a historian. I have a degree in Communications. If you want cold, hard facts and an expert’s opinion, I suggest you look elsewhere. That said, I’ll attempt to provide a brief synopsis for you.
A long time ago (but probably not in a galaxy far, far away), King Xerxes I of Persia launched an invasion of Greece. His father, Darius I (no relation to Darius Rucker of “Hootie & The Blowfish” fame) had tried earlier…and failed. Ancient Greece was formed of hundreds of city-states. The biggest and most powerful of these city-states was Sparta and Athens. Rough and tough Sparta was ruled by King Leonidas, who led an Allied army to hold off the invading Persians at the Pass of Thermopylae. Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, successfully held off the much larger Persian army for about 3 days before they were overpowered and slain to the last man. Leonidas himself was beheaded.
The sacrifices of Leonidas and his warriors did not halt the Persian advance, who would be defeated and repelled by the Athenians later that year. However, Leonidas showed courage in the face of overwhelming odds, as well as the price the people of Greece were prepared to pay in order to keep the Persians out.
There. That wasn’t so bad, now was it? 🙂
Now that you’re here, check out:
Hey, DT! Convince me! So…why: 300?
It wouldn’t be a trip to TitanTown without some nerdy references. The story of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans was adapted into graphic novel format by the one and only Frank Miller in 1999. From this graphic novel arose the film 300that we know and love today. Once again, I stress: if history is your bag and you strive for accuracy, this movie probably isn’t for you. The names and dates are pretty much the same, but there damn sure weren’t any monsters roaming around in 480 B.C. Or, ever, for that matter.
That said, you’re not watching 300 for the history lesson. You’re watching it for the battles, blood and….babes, I guess. It’s filmed in a very “graphic-novel” sort of way, similar to what I described wayyyy back in Week 1’s Sin City edition of TitanTown. You’re here for the visual spectacle. You’re here to gaze upon Leonidas’s (Gerard Butler) finely chiseled abs. Seriously. The cast of 300 underwent a (shall we say….SPARTAN?) rigorous training regimen in order to get in tip-top shape for the movie. If you’re interested, you can find the “300 Workout” here. (Note: DirectingTitan & Dick’s Favorite Blog do not encourage embarking on any such exercise routine without consulting your doctor.)
Finally, there are some great quotes to be found in this movie, which is perfect for male bonding…or any of bonding, really. Seriously, how can you pass up “Madness? THIS…IS….SPARTA!!” or “Spartans! Ready your breakfast, and eat hearty. For tonight….WE DINE IN HELL!” The correct answer, obviously, is that you CAN’T pass it up. Learn it. Use it. Love it. Live it.
Who brings a DVD to a gunfight? You do (If it’s 300):
Ah yes, the “action/violence/wash your hands afterward” section. 300 is as close as you will get to an ancient battle without actually taking place in one. Be prepared for spears, shields and stabbings. Bones will be shattered, heads will be severed, and people will just experience a great deal of discomfort in general. Through director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead – 2004, Watchmen – 2009 and Sucker Punch – 2011), this will naturally be done in slow-motion with digital blood splashing all over the screen. And you won’t mind a bit! Unless you’re a pacifist or something.
Also of note is the military strategy employed by King Leonidas and his Spartans. In particular, they used a formation called the Phalanx. Soldiers in this formation stand side by side with one another and use their shields to form an impenetrable wall. Combined with the long reach of their spears, this formation could prove quite deadly and make it a long day at the office….or Pass of Thermopylae. While not completely impervious to attack, this formation did help allow Leonidas and his warriors to hold such a narrow pass against a much larger invading army. (More information about the Phalanx can be found here.)
This is the end…
So, your favorite football team lost. Your best friend moved away. Or a TV show you love has been cancelled. You spilled something on your best pair of pants, or *insert problem here*. Life just sucks, right? I’m not saying these problems carry the same weight. Pain is pain, and everyone experiences pain differently. DT is not here to judge. I also wouldn’t dream of telling you how to deal with your pain or how to express yourself. I’m just here to say: Cheer up. It’s not the end of the world, and you’re not huddled up in a cramped pass with 299 of your closest friends trying to keep a relentless invading force at bay. Things could always be much worse than they are. And as long as we are here, we have the power to make things better. Tomorrow is another day. Today? Pop in 300 and get in touch with your inner Spartan. – DT