The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday, October 11. "The Gridiron Gang" (2006)

The Gridiron Gang (2006) and other thoughts

Jason seems to be thriving—not a single really negative incident in a week.  Hmmm.  Well, we’ll continue the program and see how it goes.
Numbers came out today from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stating that war casualties among Iraqis have topped 655,000.  Now, it is clear that they are using controversial techniques to come to this conclusion, and a previous estimate was released just before the 2004 elections, admittedly with political intent.  That is certainly reason to question their figures—and questioning those figures is exactly what we should be doing.

I’ve been disgusted with the lack of reference to such casualties in the mainstream media.   If these numbers are wrong, let there be an open discussion, with the administration presenting its figures and how they were derived.  Hunting for that data has been oddly difficult—one would think it would be clearly marked on official websites.  Unless, of course, this is information the rank-and-file isn’t really interested in…or would be awkward or embarrassing.
Another movie review: “The Gridiron Gang” (2006) starring The Rock, is another old-fashioned rouser about the redemptive powers of sports, as well as the human need to belong to a tribe.  The Rock plays a corrections officer at a juvie facility who uses Football to forge gang members into a cohesive unit, giving them skills and a perspective on life intended to increase their chances of survival and reduce the recidivism rate.  Needless to say, if it hadn’t worked they wouldn’t be making a movie about it.

But one thing that struck me as I was watching was the plethora of movies dealing with these issues, and their popularity at a time when   physical education programs are suffering across America—a fact at least partially responsible for our obesity epidemic.  I suspect that deep in our minds we remember that once upon a time we loved our bodies, explored the world with touch and taste.  That when we treat ourselves as if we are nothing but brains in boxes, that much is lost.

Sports competition can be demeaning and brutal.  But lack of engagement with the physical body, or lack of understanding of how vital competitive skills and team-building can be in life success, is much worse.  
I'll give "Gridiron Gang" a "B" for tight  football action, a decent story line, damned fine intentions, and the Rock's best performance to date.
Progress toward the “I am” within me has stopped: I seem to have hit a barrier, and it’s going to take some time to work through it.  The barrier seems to be composed of ego-stuff, fear, resentments, attachments, and just old emotional gunk.  But the exciting thing is that I’m not certain I’ve gotten this deep in this particular fashion.

My major tool is Physical Flow: that is, a rhythmic endurance activity that demands mental focus.  In my case, I’m using FlowFitII, the rather brilliant evolution of FlowFit created by Scott Sonnon.  Because it moves your body through every major movement arc and all basic flexions (the “Six Degrees of Freedom”), when you hit the “Second Wind” as you are doing this, you enter a space that one would ordinarily have to be an advanced yogi or martial artist to enter.  Note that I’m not saying that the performance of FF2 MAKES you an advanced martial artist or yogi. But there is a lovely “untangling” of mental wires, a lightening clarity to thought and motion that comes from such actions.

Much as Bikram Yoga’s hot room made a relatively advanced experience of yoga available to beginners, I think FF2 creates another, similar advanced effect.  I’ll certainly know more in a year, and I’ll keep you posted.

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