Thursday, August 10, 2006

Warring athletes?

Today WFIU played John Williams' Summon the Heroes. I was struck by the martial nature of the theme. In fact, it sounded incredibly similar to themes from Glory and Gettysburg. Is that our image of athletics, that it is civil warfare? Or is the trope of war really an adaptation of friendly gamesmanship? Which came first, wrasslin' or KILL NOW?

2 comments:

Jaquandor said...

Williams wrote another piece for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, that was a lot less "martial". In it he had a choir intone the Olympic motto (something like "faster, stronger, higher").

But really, athletics often is cast in a martial light. It's all over the imagery, from "the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat" to all those NFL Films movies where a guy with a deep voice is always intoning things like "Once again the proud warriors of Green Bay took to their battlefield, the frozen tundra of Lambeau!"

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Yes, I also was thinking about the NFL war themes. But again, I wonder whether the music of athletics came from athletics evolved from warfare, or if the music of athletics came first, to be emulated on the battlefield.