Manly isn’t just a football team.

After school we played touch football as we most always do. Today was a little different as many of the high school teachers were clearly negligent and failed to turn up and rather than make the kids watch a childish game of touch we let them play.

The first just quietly slipped into the game on the wing clearly eager to play yet not sure if he would be allowed to encroach upon the adults domain. They were accepted and put their hearts into the game. Everyone from the six year olds through to the ten year olds greatly enjoyed being part of an adult world, if only for an hour one Friday.

They point of this musing? Towards the end of the game, the opposing team made a break and a chase was given by a valiant, though possibly foolhardy, nine year old. In short, he found himself pounded into the ground by a somewhat taller and faster moving high school teacher. He was down. Out for the count. Squished. And his dad came over, helped him up, made sure he was ok and walked it off. He ended up sitting out. As I mused over this musing I found that I really admired the way that kid’s dad picked him up and moved him on. He didn’t leave him there hurt. Instead he chose to speak into his kid’s life and teach him that it isn’t worth staying down. What a manly dad.

Wait. What? A manly dad? A manly man!? No, manly isn’t just a football team. To be manly means more. This led me to think of the examples we have to live by and why this world is so full of… well… not men. I think, and bear with me on this, one of the greatest reasons is those preachers of the cinema who assume in their intellectual superiority, that we needed re-educating. Let me explain.

Once upon a time in Hollywood, there would be a problem which had no solution. Then, a hero would walk on. He may be an imperfect hero. Insensitive. Harsh. Rude even. But this man would have a clear sense of right and wrong and regardless of his own well being would not rest until the person or the place or the problem had been set right.

Where are our heroes now? Let’s have a quick look at two. I’m a teacher so we could start with an animation. Madagascar 2 is flat out hilarious but when ever Alex, the supposed hero, is presented with an argument he cries and whines like a two year old. He has absolutely no ability to look past an insult, personal attacks or even stay on topic. I wish he had been a bigger man (lion).

In ‘Batman, The Dark Knight’ Bruce Wayne fights the good fight through all the confusion and finally, when it came to the truth, he chose not to follow. He chose to take the blame for something he didn’t do which actually undermined everything he stood for as a hero. I wish he had been a bigger man. (and here’s hoping that The Dark Knight Rises is better).

Unfortunately, there are many more examples out there. No, I’m not just bagging movies or heroes. I’m just making the point that for all their heroics many of our everyday movie heroes really display an incredible lack of character at the most vital parts of their stories. They chose the right way every time. Except when it matters the most.

Sir Winston Churchill said that ‘All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.’ These are the things that matter.

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