Therefore, I submit that in the days of Everybody Gets a Trophy! what that really means is Nobody Gets a Trophy. When you take away the concept of Lose, you take away what it means to Win. When you take away the meaning of winning, you end up with assholes like Charlie Sheen.
How the hell did we get here? I mean, I learned growing up, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." and "Do or do not, there is not try." and stuff like that.
I want my boys to grow up with that mentality rather than embracing their inner Medium. (Medium as opposed to Small or Large, not like the psychic thing...the psychic thing would be superb) I want them to be kick ass men who take charge, names, ownership, pride and all those other things that are meant to be taken. Those things are not meant to be handed over like trophies at a pee wee soccer party.
So, this place in history is confusing to me. We've probably been here before. It probably ended very badly. But I don't remember the "everybody gets a trophy" era from history class. Whatever happened right before the French Revolution might have been similar but I don't remember for sure.
I'm reminded of this because last night we had a family night. The X took the boys and me out to dinner and a movie. Our movie choices were either The Lorax or Act of Valor which might seem like weird movie options to some, but with tweenage boys it could really go either direction. I leaned more toward Act of Valor. (It's made with real SEALS... so you know it's good.)
We ended up at Act of Valor. yay. Okay, this movie is going to get terrible reviews simply because it's made with real SEALS, and real SEALS can't act for shit. I thought the bad acting was endearing. And all the exploding stuff made it completely awesome. If you see it, my favorite scene was the interrogation on the boat even though it didn't have any explosions. I liked the mindfuck aspect of it. don't act all surprised.
Anyway, there was a voiceover narrative throughout the movie and that's what I liked most of all. The voiceover will get hammered by the critics most of all but whatever; the message was one that I think is important. It was talking about men being men. Like old school, John Wayne, brimming with testosterone and suppressing their emotions and redirecting them instead into pure energy against whatever enemy they come up against next kinda men. Despite the obvious potential to get carried away in the wrong direction with that kind of energy...I think it's basically a great idea. That'll make sense in a minute. Bear with me.
So part of the narrative was a letter to one of the character's kids. (Spoiler alert: not everyone makes it out alive) Google didn't help me find the whole narrative script, but I did find part of the letter. It doesn't hit all the points about men being men that I thought were interesting, but it does touch on some stuff. Women can find it useful too; I'm sure I'll be inspired in some way because of this.
Critics can bash all they want, but the mention of begging for a chance to live your life a different way hits home. The directive to live with a sense of pride in yourself and respect for others makes sense to me. It's challenging yourself against settling for the Medium in the moment. It makes you dare yourself toward greatness I think. I love that. I need reminding of that all the time.
Mentioned earlier in the narrative and not in that excerpted letter part was the idea of men suppressing emotions and channeling them into other pursuits. Rather than gushing out all their feelings all over everybody, men really need to get back into that. That kind of mentality inspired progress, art, commerce...and yeah, wars and stuff too...but yin/yang. Heaven/Hell. Just acknowledge the fact that light and darkness depend on each other.
These days men sit around and talk it out and nothing gets DONE. It fucking sucks. I don't want to raise a couple of men contributing to this epidemic.
I want the boys to be overwhelmed enough by inner turmoil they create a masterpiece in their passion of choice. I want them to lose. I want them to fall. Because when you fall, you learn how not to fall. I want them to discover a passion so immense, they keep at it until they get it right.
When they get it right, they'll have earned that sense of pride. It will belong to them alone. Not every other snowflake on the soccer field.