The Dream of Greatness and How It Applies to Culture
Why Did Roma build the Colosseum?
It was not to watch men die, although in parts of the human mind savagery is its prerequisite.
Roma built the Colosseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, to capture the revelation of greatness in a snapshot of competition. Thereby, to allow the People of a mighty Republic/Empire to observe the image of a champion.
Roma was a place where greatness resided. The test of the Colosseum was to impart that level of greatness to another people, to the lowest of these—the common man; worse yet, the criminal mind.
It is great to behold the spectacle of greatness and contemplate its accomplishment.
For within us there must exist a spark of greatness to even regard its existence, moreover, even a mightier vision to contemplate the arduous journey and powerful effort to accomplish its destiny, its providence.
When I looked up Merriam-Webster’s definition of greatness, even its glossary struggled to define its quintessence. It wasn’t until I reached the third suggestion where I found a meaning worth its weight and substance.
remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness
It wasn’t until the fifth offering where I found the next closest paradigm of the meaning.
eminent, distinguished, chief or preeminent over others
The next reference I could accept as having semblance to the meaning of greatness came in Webster’s ninth submission.
markedly superior in character or quality; especially: noble
I determine Merriam-Webster’s glossary was exhausting its ability to define such a magnificent aspiration, but I found one more recommendation.
remarkably skilled <great at tennis> b : marked by enthusiasm : keen
These descriptions offer some clarity into the meaning of greatness, but pale in comparison to what the soul feels when it recognizes greatness.
The Republic of the United States of America built their replicas of the Colosseum for the same reason ancient Roma did—to seek, within the confines of competition, phantasmagorias of greatness. To dare to gaze into the soul of the competitor and fully examine the capacity of what is essential to gain victory.
Last night, in the face of a fierce competitor, pummeled to a near pulp by a tenacious, constant rush that produced many knock downs, endless pressure, and five brutal sacks, a player reached into his heart and dared to contemplate the achievement of greatness.
By daring to imagine the attainment of such glory he inspired his team to accomplish the impossible.
By his team accomplishing the impossible, the immensity of the heart of the United States of America was once more revealed.
What Tom Brady and his intrepid assembly of players accomplished in Super Bowl 51 demonstrates how a dream, a hope, can become reality.
When the Patriots were behind by 25 points, I saw defeat in Tom Brady’s eyes.
But deeper than the defeat, I saw defiance.
Defiance against age, defiance against circumstances, insolence in the face of defeat, rebellion in contradiction of fact. The essence of my faith and the central reason my father—and his father(s) before him—envisioned a path and a life within the fabric of the United States relied on the dream of greatness and the conviction that they could attain it.
It was this dream of greatness—this hope for a better tomorrow—that I witnessed on the field at Houston’s NRG Stadium, a modern Colosseum of incredible dimension.
It is the defiant human soul struggling against a vicious demise who, with the inspiration of the unconquerable spirit, dares not only to dream of greatness—but sets out to accomplish it.
Photos by: Sandro Schuh and Ben Hershey
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