Every eight-year old boy wanted to play hockey in 1992. All sorts of humans under the age of sixteen probably had that desire, but mine was a giant, uncontrollable passion at that point. I was going to get in fights, punch other dudes’ teeth out, get black eyes and play the sport until I died- on the ice. I had it all planned out. Problem was, that my school didn’t have a hockey team and my parents weren’t going to look very far for one. My dream to become a professional athlete was short-lived. It only lasted for the three weeks immediately following the first time I saw “The Mighty Ducks”.
Life goes on.
The dream was unrealistic anyway, I can barely walk across an empty room without tripping, so strapping me to a pair of skates and expecting me to chase a plastic black dot across a giant slab of ice amounted to a terrible idea. Adding other characters to the equation just makes it more comical in my mind. That ice would have been covered in my blood.
“The Mighty Ducks” made me want to get up off my butt and do something. I would have happily ditched the video games and cartoons to pick up a hockey stick and become someone as awesome as one of the kids in that movie. A couple of weeks of brick walls and less than motivated parents provided sufficient opportunity for the apathy that sent me crawling back to Mortal Kombat and Sonic the Hedgehog. I may have even asked those old friends to forgive me after I abandoned them for such a ridiculous fancy.
Looking back on it now, I can’t tell if some writer or producer over at Disney took advantage of me and millions of other young people, or if a person out there really wanted to tell a compelling story. The sequels were obvious money-making ploys that worked. They may have temporarily revived my aspirations of becoming a hockey star, but I was a hopeless dreamer and that made me easy prey. The weak ones are always the first to go.
People need to be inspired, because indifference and lethargy attack us at every turn. We grow old, those once semi-cute love handles grow into rolls, we fail, get hurt and don’t want to try ever again and then we give up and start watching Jersey Shore and actually think it’s compelling or funny. Before you know it, we’re depressed or worse- dead. The simpler and more realistic approach of shaking a person and telling them, “You’ll hate your life if you give up now!” doesn’t seem to work as well as telling them a good story. Then again, I’m pretty tactless and have tried to rattle someone’s brains out in an effort to get them to do something. Offering the unfortunate details that accompany quitting only seem to offend people, too.
My qualm with this whole inspiration business comes from abuse of pathos . I’m completely skeptical of anything that makes me want to emote, unless it pisses me off, but that’s more of a personal problem. But when something excites me enough to get me to do something worthwhile and that feeling doesn’t die three weeks later, somebody did something right.
★ ★ ★
Truthfully, I think theology should inspire us more than anything else, but I’m nerdy like that. Genuine, true theology doesn’t have any questionable motives (On its own- place it in the hands of a prosperity preacher and that’s a different story). God’s word doesn’t want to take advantage of your emotions, it helps you to understand the best news ever told, tells about a romance that leaves Romeo, Juliette and all the vampires and werewolves out there in the dust and theology explains how to love God and your neighbor. I never feel cheap or easy after reading God’s word.