Watching the underdog
I wonder if the Emperor Honorious watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill could truly realize that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is really just another page of history, isn't it? Will this be the end of our civilization? Turn the page.
-"Best of Both Worlds, Part I," Star Trek: The Next Generation
The way that Ken Watanabe appears on screen as General Kuribayashi in Letters from Iwo Jima reminds me a lot of how I remember Clint Eastwood in movies, the way his eye is arched and his mouth is open as he analyzes an impossible situation.
It's not long before you realize the other storyline this movie, this historical event, is similar to. It is like the Alamo. You know they are all going to die here. Leaving is not an option.
It's an American story, at least one that we seem to love, the role of the underdog, being outnumbered, fighting against the odds. Bastogne. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir. U.S. Rangers in Somalia as depicted in Black Hawk Down.
I wonder if it has parallels with poker, that other pastime that we have. Do we crave the action so much that we just jump in any game? Or do conditions, variance put us in situations in which we bite off more than we can chew?
I guess if you always win, it would be a boring story. So we see the underdog all over popular novels, including the one I most recently read, Max Brooks' World War Z, a tale about a global pandemic of zombies. America suffers a horrible defeat at the Battle of Yonkers. But then regroups and later saves the day with its technology, its determination.
I also think about the underdog with the Super Bowl coming up -- I converted some of my unburned-bonus money at Bocat to use for Chicago, +7.
I know, I know. I hear that everybody says the Colts will win. Peyton totally is due. The Bears' offense is shaky. Unpredictable.
Yet they are from the city of my birth, the winter weather equivalent of the planet Krypton that lets me take in a 5-mile run a brisk 39 degree day here in Atlanta in shorts and a T-shirt while everyone else is covered in heavy gear.
I'm sure the Bears know they are the underdogs.
But leaving is unthinkable. They're going to have to play -- and fight -- this one out.