Olympic Heroes

This piece does not have anything, directly, to do with the Olympics. As many of you are hopefully aware, the “Olympic” in “Olympic” refers to a religious place: Mt. Olympus in up top Greece, the seat of the gods.

The words you will find below were also inspired by a report I just watched on UTub about the Patriots 8th day of training camp. For those of you not interested in football, or sports in general, give this a chance–it’s not about either of those things. For those interested in the sport, keep reading, I’m reporting on some serious issues here that need to be heard.

The Pats 8th day of training camp gives us a good place to start, because it was reported that on this day, with the 1st, I’ll say it again, 1st game of the season still over a month away, 17 players missed practice because of one injury or another.

Fans familiar with the sport will dismiss this point. They argue that it is normal for this time of year, when the pads come on and people start hitting each other. They also mention the pesky COVID problem, which is an issue, yes. I have watched football and played ice hockey long enough, however, to say that this is total bull puckey–the injuries I’m talking about were there before COVID and are still there now. The fact that 17 players are unable to suit up for the 3rd or 4th day of padded practice should be taken at face value: it is an indication of a larger issue.

Anyone interested enough in football, especially fantasy football, has looked at an injury report at one time or another. Every goddamn week there is a mile long list of injuries to players of every team. Many of these are concussions, which is still a nagging issue in the NFL, but one I will refrain from discussing here, you’ll soon see why.

What does one see in these reports?

Plantar fasciitus. ACL. MCL. Strained/pulled/torn hamstring/quadriceps/calf. Sprained ankle. Knee issues. Turf toe. Hip issues. Stress fractures in the foot. And, of course, the ever-present Achilles injury.

Any fitness professional worthy of his talent will look at this plethora of lower extremity injuries and remember that before Nike invented running shoes with a padded sole, most of these injuries to these extremities were nearly unheard of. In my personal opinion, this revolves around the fact that we want to put as much distance as possible between us and the Earth, and nature will exact its revenge for this crime. However, as I say this is my opinion. Let’s stick to the facts…


Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. It drove Lucifer out of Heaven. It also drove Lucifer to attack heaven.

For those of us who were not on a sports team in school, who among us can forget the feeling of sheer terror in the hallways, especially as freshmen or -women, when a sports team member came toward us in the hallway? They were never alone. They traveled in packs, like dogs, and even barked and yelped like canines at pep rallies. And yes, they bit.

All that testosterone had to go somewhere. I don’t think many of us can debate that athletes, from High School upwards, are a prideful lot. Are they all vain? Of course not. But a large mass of athletes, as soon as they put that jersey on, begin acting as if their association with this or that team elevates them in the school hierarchy, and many become bullies, in true warrior fashion, to prove their superiority.

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. It drove Lucifer out of Heaven. It also drove Lucifer to attack heaven.

At this point I’d like to return to Achilles, for whom the dreaded and all-too-prevalent injury is named after. Achilles was the greatest of all Olympic warriors, and he brings us back to “Olympic.” He was killed when someone shot him with an arrow in the…heel. Strange that more people have not wondered about this. The hero was invulnerable everywhere else in his body because Mama dipped him in the river Styx, but she had to hold him somewhere–his heel–and this point became his only weakness.

Even if that were true, why should an arrow wound to the heel cause death?

The Greeks did not develop their stories in a vacuum. Most researchers now agree that their mythical realm was copied from those of earlier, Middle Eastern cultures. If one looks at the myths of these peoples, all of them, no matter how different these people were from each other, made reference to heroes with less than optimal leg health. The Greeks included others with this malady: Hephaestus, the first Smith (not his real name), also had a lame leg. His Roman counterpart as well.


All of these ancient religious systems owe their existence to the Hurrians, who were the first to mention lame heroes, as well as cosmic wars. They also told the tale of one mighty “hero” bold enough to attack Heaven; yes, the first known occurrence of this literary theme. I cannot say exactly how this lame-leg story originated, since a book discussing it is forthcoming, I can only say two things: 1), there is a perfectly logical, scientific explanation behind the phenomenon. And 2), this problem would not exist without toxic masculinity.

Because we love football, and the masculine, win-at-all-costs-mentality, AND we also consciously choose our footwear solutions instead of Nature’s, we will be permanently plagued with the same injuries every week.

And NOT just on a professional football team’s injury report.

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