As a Classicist often I have prized myself with never giving into such trivial things as Reality Shows, Sports, or other leisurely or "otium" ideals. However, being in relationship with a historian who is able to see an opportunity to learn not only personally but methodically from the popular iconography and lifestyles of today- I have learned.
I did not watch a single game of NFL football until I was 21 years old. I matter I prized myself on, since as a proud member of academia my time was better spent reading, researching, or realizing bigger and better goals.
However, it was one Edward Serrano that pointed out to be that NFL teams, coaches, and quarterbacks are the modern day generals similar to Ancient Rome. They are "in your face" politicians who flout their schemes, maneuvers, and victories all over the media and in the public face. I find it similar to the culture of Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars or even Augustus' Res Gestae Divi . They show the public how their victories come about and leave them idolizing players even similar to Gladiators and the Games.However, the players may be renowned for the skill, but ultimately it is the general "coach" who is remembered for several "plays" and "strategies" and not for a simple "Hail Mary." One could argue that winning the Superbowl is a modern day triumph for these "generals."
The following was written about RG3, the rookie quarterback who took the Redskin to the Playoffs.
Imagine, Mr. President, years from now. Griffin runs for governor of Texas. Who would bet against him? Highly educated, devoutly Christian, a native son, a Hall of Fame quarterback in the most football-crazed state in the union. It may seem high-flown, horse-before-the-cart kind of thinking, but if it's not in the back of Griffin's mind, why, I ask you, would he have learned Latin? Latin.
At the height of his college career, when his days were packed with football and schoolwork and charity and a girlfriend, Griffin voluntarily took an accelerated class in the language of Caesar. (Maybe he wants to be emperor. Robertus Griffinus Tertius.) Could it be that he wanted to know the language of the Founding Fathers, the language that refined and honed the genius of Jefferson and Adams?
His professor, Tommye Lou Davis, says Griffin was one of the finest students she's ever had, and the most conscientious. She remembers the first day of class. She arrived early, as always, and was shocked to find the school's star quarterback already there. It was early morning, he was coming from a two-hour workout, and yet he was waiting for her.
He then sat front and center (his seat in most classes, and in the Redskins' classroom) and methodically laid waste to Horace, Ovid, Virgil. His translations were perfect, Davis says. His declensions and conjugations sublime. And he found time and energy to tutor fellow students.
Davis describes a day when she handed back a stack of graded tests. Before opening his, Griffin turned to a student he'd been tutoring and asked in a whisper how the student had done. The student gave thumbs-up. Only then did Griffin smile, relax, check his own grade. To Davis, that was the epiphany, from the Latin epiphania. He cares, honestly cares, about others. Translation: He's not what we've come to expect from phenoms. "Robert is real," she says. "People are hungry for something real."
The whole article may be found at:RG3 and Latin