We’ve been discussing Herodotus’s Histories in the class I TA for. (In other words, the plot of the movie 300.) As part of the discussion, we talked about the importance of honor going to the city state instead of the individual. We also talked about the importance for Spartan soldiers not to break rank (either for cowardice or glory) since doing so endangered the soldiers fighting beside them.
At this point, the professor inserts a football example.
“Take *football player I do not know*. He’s a great player but he thinks the game revolves around him. No one likes that guy.”
A few people nod. A few look confused. As a football coach’s daughter, I feel obliged to nod and look like I am personally acquainted with this player. ‘Yeah! What a jerk. I mean, come on.‘
Then comes discussion groups. Sports are actually a pretty great analogy for this topic. Soldiers don’t run to battle in formation any more, but football players do. Hence the desire for “team players.”
To help illustrate the point, I decided to draw the Spartan formation on the board like a football play. I figure I’d seen enough of them. Just use Xs and Os!
Then an arrow that shows one X charging ahead leaving a gap in the ranks. Simple!
Except my plan backfired. Non-athletes took one look at the board and glazed over. Actual athletes took one look at the board and couldn’t figure out what my scribbles meant. Turns out I cannot draw football plays.
For the next discussion group I focused on an orchestra: “Doesn’t matter how beautifully the violinist plays, if it isn’t the current symphony, it isn’t going to work.”
Thankfully no one called me out on how little I know about orchestra.